What We Do

Venturous Theater Fund (VTF) supports ambitious new work for the stage and the artists who create it. We make grants to fund the production of audacious, irreverent new plays that are “venturous”—ambitious in scale, epic in scope, challenging in form, controversial in subject matter, experimental in concept, and/or unabashed in their theatricality.

We also fund artist-driven initiatives that embrace agency for playwrights at all stages of their careers. We seek to advance creative growth and financial security for dramatists, including healthcare. We embrace programs that center artists in decisions about how grant money flows through the theater ecosystem.

Our goals include helping writers achieve the freedom to write the plays they fear would otherwise go unproduced, and enabling producing organizations to say “yes” instead of “no” to worthy but challenging author-driven projects. We fund new play productions that involve large casts and other perceived obstacles. In addition, we support programs and processes that put money into writers’ hands and employ numerous artists. We seek to create opportunities for relationship-building and artist-to-artist collaboration across national boundaries.

Programs and Initiatives

VTF makes grants to U.S.-based 501 (c) 3 charitable organizations, as well as to organizations operating under fiscal sponsorship of a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit. We cannot offer direct grants to individual artists.

We do not accept unsolicited proposals, other than for our Venturous Capital Grants.

Venturous Capital Grants
Grants to support productions of new plays perceived as especially challenging at theaters across the US. We accept Letters of Inquiry from eligible theaters twice a year.

Venturous Playwright Fellowships
In partnership with the Playwrights’ Center. Supporting playwrights through the advancement of ambitious, risk-taking, and innovative plays by providing writers with two years of residency funding and production advocacy at partner theaters.

Health Insurance/Healthcare for Dramatists
Developing and forwarding initiatives that provide resources for theater writers at all stages of their careers to access health insurance and healthcare.

International Collaboration
Creating opportunities for U.S.-based playwrights and other theater artists to build relationships with peers from other countries.

Finishing Commission Grants
Funds for theaters to offer writers finishing commissions for venturous plays that have been commissioned but not yet produced, along with support for workshops or other production-oriented play development processes.

Legacy Playwrights Initiative
Support for initiatives that spotlight the achievements and influence of playwrights whose work has fallen out of the public eye, and provide financial security for elder writers.

Other Initiatives
Support for artist innovation, new plays at mid-sized NYC theaters, and more.

We Value:

  • Bold visions for the theater, present and future; strategic thinking and action; and creative approaches to meeting challenges.
  • Thoughtful risk-taking, including openness to the risk of failure.
  • Artists and processes that reflect a diverse set of perspectives, experiences, backgrounds, career stages, and abilities.
  • Artists and organizations that strive to make our society more just and more inclusive.
  • Artistic expression for its own sake.
  • Playwrights and other artists whose work fosters political/societal change.
  • Pay equity for playwrights, as well as for all artists and craftspeople who collaborate in the work of making theater.

We strive to:

  • Practice humility, integrity, and open-mindedness.
  • Collaborate with and learn from our grantees, creating two-way relationships based on trust and open communication.
  • Leverage passion of artists and artistic leaders to innovate, especially in their embrace experimentation, innovation, and fearlessness.
  • Define “success” in terms of learning, relationship-building, and artistic achievement.

Venturous Theater Fund operates through The Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation.