The American Theatre Wing Announces Recipients of 2017 National Theatre Company Grants

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The American Theatre Wing has announced the recipients of its 2017 National Theatre Company Grants. This year’s nine Initial Support recipients are:Blackout Theatre Company (Albuquerque, NM), Chicago Children's Theatre (Chicago, IL),Forward Theater Company (Madison, WI), Jewel Theatre Company (Santa Cruz, CA),Road Less Traveled Productions (Buffalo, NY), Short North Stage (Columbus, OH), The Millibo Art Theatre (Colorado Springs, CO), The Playwrights Realm (New York, NY), andTheatre Horizon (Norristown, PA). The Second-Time Support grant recipients are the following three companies: Ars Nova (New York, NY), Congo Square Theatre Company(Chicago, IL), and The NOLA Project (New Orleans, LA). The prestigious grants totaling $120,000 will be presented on Monday, October 30th at a private event.


Initial Support grants for the 2017 cycle in the amount of $10,000 each will be distributed for general operating support to these companies which, according to grant guidelines, have been in operation at least five, but not more than fifteen years, have articulated a distinctive mission, cultivated an audience, and nurtured a community of artists in ways that strengthen and demonstrate the quality, diversity, and dynamism of American theatre. 


This year marked the second cycle of the Second-Time Support grants. These grants for the 2017 cycle in the amount of $10,000 each will be distributed for general operating support to companies who have already received the National Theatre Company Grant in grant cycles occurring between 2010 and 2015. It is the American Theatre Wing’s hope to provide additional support for companies who plan to advance their work in a significant way and have a strategic goal to build the organization’s capacity to continue to innovate and create a more dynamic American theatre and have described an actionable plan to achieve that goal.


“Theater is an integral part of our shared cultural identity throughout the United States, expanding the dialogue between our neighbors and connecting us to one another,” said Marva Smalls, Chair of the National Theatre Company Grants committee. “Our selection for this year’s grants demonstrates how remarkable companies all across America, from Buffalo to Albuquerque and every place in between, are vital to continuing this venerated tradition.”


“The twelve theater companies that we have bestowed with year’s grants have demonstrated their invaluable impact on their local communities,” said Heather Hitchens, President of the American Theatre Wing. “I am proud to be continuing the Wing’s development and outreach to young and established theater companies as they continue to enrich their respective communities by producing outstanding work with these grants.


The American Theatre Wing has long shown its dedication to not-for-profit theatres through its Theatre Company Grants Program. After many years during which eligibility was restricted to New York City companies, 2010 marked a significant change in the granting of The Wing, resulting from extensive review by the organization’s Board of Trustees. The ATW Grants have distributed over $3 million dollars over the past 60 years.  For more information on the ATW’s National Theatre Company Grants, visit: The application period for 2018 grants will open in the spring of next year.



About the American Theatre Wing


One hundred years ago, on the eve of America’s entry into World War I, seven suffragettes—all women of the theatre—came together to form The Stage Women’s War Relief. A century later, the spirit and vision behind the founding of American Theatre Wing remains a touchstone for all we do. The Wing continues to champion bravery, with a focus on developing the next generation of brave artists. The Wing advances the future of American Theatre by celebrating excellence and nurturing the next generation: on stage, behind the scenes, and in the audience. We envision an American Theatre that is as vital, multi-faceted, and diverse as the American people.


The Wing’s programs span the nation to invest in the growth and evolution of American Theatre. We provide theatre education opportunities for underserved students through the Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative, develop the next generation of theatre professionals through the SpringboardNYC and Theatre Intern Network programs, incubate innovative theatre across the country through the National Theatre Company Grants, foster the song of American Theatre through the Jonathan Larson® Grants, honor the best in New York theatrical design with the Henry Hewes Design Award, and illuminate the creative process through the Emmy-nominated “Working in the Theatre” documentary series. In addition to founding the Tony Awards® which are co-presented with The Broadway League, the American Theatre Wing co-presents the Obie Awards®, Off Broadway’s Highest Honor, with The Village Voice.


Visitors to can gain inspiration and insight into the artistic process through the Wing’s extensive media collection, and learn more about its programming for students, aspiring and working professionals, and audiences. Follow the Wing on Twitter andInstagram @TheWing, and on



Mission Statements


Ars Nova (New York, NY) is committed to developing and producing theater, comedy and music artists in the early stages of their professional careers. Their unique development programs are designed to support outside-the-box thinking and encourage innovative, genre-bending work. By providing a safe environment where risk-taking and collaboration are paramount, Ars Nova gives voice to a new generation of artists and audiences, pushing the boundaries of live entertainment by nurturing creative ideas into smart, surprising new work. The company provides an artistic home for emerging talent by cultivating a hive of  creative activity, both on stage—through developmental programs and performances—and off—through the support and cultivation of a thriving artist community.


Blackout Theatre Company (Albuquerque, NM) is creating stories to engage and ignite community. Blackout is a member of the Network for Ensemble Theatres with a goal to propel ensemble theatre practice to the forefront of the American culture and society. They started with late night sketch comedy shows and eventually moved on to mounting full length productions. Today, Blackout has expanded into a different kind of theatre. In addition to full length productions, they also create their own full length work from scratch, produce sketch comedy videos and web-series for the web, and have an education program that serves hundreds of students a year improving literacy scores through playwriting.


Chicago Children's Theatre (Chicago, IL) aims to enrich their community through diverse and significant theatrical and educational programming that engages and inspires the child in all of us. Chicago Children’s Theatre (CCT) achieves its mission through the creation of awe-inducing theatrical productions and programs with an emphasis on inclusion, accessibility and affordability; inspiring young people and families to lead lives of adventure, courage, and curiosity.


Congo Square Theatre Company (Chicago, IL) is a professional ensemble based organization who champions the African American experience by producing definitive and transformative theatre, spawned from the African Diaspora, to enlighten, educate, and inspire everyone. Congo Square Theatre Company seeks to establish itself as an institution of multicultural theatre globally.


Forward Theater Company (Madison, WI) aims to create a home base for Wisconsin theater professionals and audiences that expands the cultural and economic life of the greater Madison area. They are committed to strengthening the area's economy by spending locally and hiring southern Wisconsin theater artists who live and work there and whose presence enlivens the creative fabric of the community. As a pillar of the local arts scene, Forward Theater Company expands the cultural life of their community by presenting high-quality productions of relevant, through-provoking work that their audiences wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to see, raising awareness of community needs and resources.


Jewel Theatre Company (Santa Cruz, CA) is the only year-round professional theatre company in the Santa Cruz area. JTC is dedicated to creating extraordinary productions that explore and advance the art of theatre by entertaining, enlightening and engaging the community. In fulfilling their mission, Jewel Theatre Company endeavors to be inclusive and collaborative, with both artists and audience, in creating the highest quality theatre that residents and visitors to the central coast will find intriguing and reflective of the region's commitment to excellence in the arts.


Road Less Traveled Productions (Buffalo, NY) challenges audiences through provocative storytelling and passionate artistry. The RLTP Ensemble constructs bold and imaginative ways to explore, discuss, and understand timely and timeless issues that connect diverse communities, globally and locally, to the commonality of human experience. Their mission is to develop the canon of contemporary voices through production of new and notable works by regional and national playwrights, creating unforgettable live theatre experiences that bring value to our lives.


Short North Stage (Columbus, OH) is a professional theater company dedicated to bringing first-class live performance to Columbus's Short North Arts District. Residing in a revitalized and historic theater in Central Ohio, Short North Stage produces or hosts eclectic performances weekly, ranging from Broadway classics and edgy off-Broadway musicals, to progressive one-act plays, cabarets, dance and improv and stand-up comedy. Short North Stage aims to be Columbus's theatrical window on the world and a window for the world on Columbus.


The Millibo Art Theatre (Colorado Springs, CO) is dedicated to the production and creation of original, professional theater that will challenge, inspire and entertain audiences of all ages throughout the Pikes Peak region and beyond. Recognized as an arts leader in the community, with numerous award-winning shows and exciting community collaborations, the MAT fills a unique niche in the Pikes Peak region as it explores new avenues for empowering and engaging artists, audiences and the community in the creation and appreciation of new theatre.


The NOLA Project (New Orleans, LA) is an ensemble-driven theatre company that strives to challenge, entertain, and engage diverse New Orleans audiences through high-quality and innovative performances of relevant great works, the development and production of new plays, and comprehensive educational opportunities for aspiring theatre artists. The NOLA Project’s aim is to continue producing the very finest and most exciting theatre in New Orleans and to put the city of New Orleans on the national map as a major player in the American regional theatre scene.  


The Playwrights Realm (New York, NY) is devoted to supporting early-career playwrights along the journey of playwriting, helping them hone their craft, fully realize their vision, and build meaningful artistic careers. They pride themselves on providing a very high level of support for the playwrights they work with and meeting their individual needs by making an extensive array of resources available to them. The Realm's innovative model combines elements of producing houses, development centers, and artist service organizations to provide a wide range of resources to help their playwrights create new work and gain a foothold in the theatre community.


Theatre Horizon (Norristown, PA) seeks to use theatre to create a community of artists, students, and audiences in which each member is encouraged to grow. In carrying out their mission, Theatre Horizon stages stories that illuminate the full range of human experience, bring people together, connect students with theatre artists, and contribute to the revitalization of their underserved town. They have become a neighborhood anchor and a vibrant hub of activity, staging critically-acclaimed productions and reaching more than 900 children per year through classes, summer camps, and the pioneering Autism Drama Program.

Victor Legrá