Important Note: We have made a change to our guidelines under “Size of Grants.” Please see below and review this page carefully before you submit your LOI. (November 2023)
The goal of our Venturous Capital Grants program is to support writers of bold, experimental, and/or large-scale new plays by giving not-for-profit theaters the ability to say “yes” instead of “no” to writer-driven projects perceived as especially challenging. We do this by funding specific extraordinary costs that are integral to those plays’ production, and which might otherwise make them difficult or impossible to produce.
We make grants to theater companies to support productions of text-based, author-driven new plays that are
In short, plays that are venturous.
Our support is limited to new plays, though not necessarily to world premieres. We welcome the opportunity to support second/third productions and other stagings of new plays with the playwright’s involvement, in which case we may ask that the theater provide a statement from the playwright.
Our grants cover extraordinary integral expenses necessary for the production of a new play—specific expenses without which the play could not be produced. We do not support enhanced production values or costs associated with specific production styles.
These grants are intended to remove perceived obstacles to production by underwriting unusual expenses. Eligible extraordinary expenses typically include:
Specific examples of supported costs from successful past applications:
We do NOT fund routine production expenses. We do NOT fund enhanced production values—expenses that enable the theater to stage the play at a higher level.
The expenses we fund must be:
Examples of specific expenses we do NOT fund:
These grants do NOT fund:
We do not support non-AEA productions under any circumstances. Furthermore, we will not consider support for projects that are produced on any of the AEA showcase codes or with uncompensated performers. Supported productions must be staged on an Actors’ Equity Association contract according to the requirements mentioned above.
Support is limited to small- and medium-sized theaters with an annual budget of under $5 million (pre-COIVD). Theaters must be professional, independent producing organizations located within the U.S. that produce plays on an AEA contract. They must be not-for-profit 501 (c) 3 organizations or be fiscally sponsored by a 501 (c) 3 organization.
We support co-productions. However, all involved producing organizations, producing partners, and above-the-title entities must meet the criteria described above in order for a project to be eligible for support.
We do not make grants to individual writers or non-producing organizations under this program.
$5,000 – $35,000
Note: Grants of $30,000 and above are awarded only in extraordinary circumstances. Grant amounts are based on the specific extraordinary expenses described in your application. They are production-specific and are NOT related to any previous support. In general, smaller and more specific requests are more likely to be funded at 100%.
Our selection committee is composed of independent theater professionals including playwrights, directors, producers, and dramaturgs, along with VTF staff members. The committee rotates with each grant cycle.
Any eligible theater may submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI). We will invite selected companies to submit full applications from the pool of LOIs under consideration. We do not accept unsolicited applications.
For projects selected to submit a full application, the theater will submit a playscript for review by our selection committee for that grant round. The script may be in draft or final form. However, we cannot consider LOIs for plays that have not yet been written.
We welcome theaters to submit unsolicited LOIs that describe the proposed project and the specific expenses a grant would cover.
We accept LOIs twice a year. Upcoming deadlines:
*Exact deadline date TBD. The deadline will be no earlier than the date specified above.
The LOI is in two parts: a cover sheet and a brief narrative.
Download and complete our current LOI Cover Sheet.
Please write us a brief letter of NO MORE THAN ONE PAGE addressing these questions:
We do not accept unsolicited applications. Please see above for information regarding Letters of Inquiry.
After our selection committee reviews the LOIs, we will invite approximately 8 to 12 selected companies to submit a full application, including a playscript and a budget enumerating the specific costs which the proposed grant will cover.
Our grant selection process is competitive. We generally fund 50% to 75% of those projects invited to submit full applications. Our selection committee members base their funding determinations in part on their responses to the playscripts. They also assess how closely each application matches our selection criteria and parameters, as articulated above.
Final funding decisions will be made within 2-2.5 months of the LOI deadline date.
We authorize disbursement of Venturous Capital Grant funds once the production has been publicly announced, but no earlier than 3 months before the first performance.