What act yet mightier yet imagineth
Thy venturous spirit?
—The Odyssey, Book IX
Venturous Theater Fund
Venturous Theater Fund (VTF) makes grants that support innovative approaches to theatrical production by encouraging playwrights and other theater-makers to take risks in the creation of new plays that are “venturous”—audacious, irreverent, ambitious in scale or scope, challenging in form, controversial in subject matter, and/or experimental in concept.
VTF supports ambitious new work for the stage and the artists who create it. We seek to fund ambitious and challenging work by creating room for experimentation and risk in new play production. Our goal is to help writers achieve the freedom to write the plays they fear would otherwise go unproduced; and to enable producing organizations to say “yes” instead of “no” to worthy but challenging author-driven projects. We are particularly interested in seeding new play productions that involve controversial subject matter, large casts, or other perceived obstacles.
Because VTF is committed to offering direct support, financial and otherwise, to artists who create new work, we aim to create grant programs that put money into artists’ hands. This may come about by funding projects that directly benefit playwrights, as well as those that promote the employment of directors, designers, and actors.
Venturous Capital Grants
Twice a year we accept Letters of Inquiry for our Venturous Capital Grants program, which supports production of new plays that are challenging in form; controversial in subject matter; ambitious in scale or scope; audacious, irreverent; and/or experimental in concept—in short, “venturous”—at small and medium-sized theaters. These grants underwrite extraordinary production expenses, i.e., specific costs that a theater might otherwise be unable to incur.
Our Venturous Playwright Fellowship at the Playwrights’ Center supports the advancement of ambitious, risk-taking, and innovative plays by providing concurrent residencies for their authors, and offers Production Subsidy Grants to theaters that stage their selected plays.
Legacy Playwrights Initiative
Venturous is honored to be the lead funder of the Legacy Playwrights Initiative of the Dramatists Guild Foundation, which rediscovers and advocates for important elder playwrights whose writing has fallen out of the public eye, and provides them with financial support.
We support several initiatives at New Dramatists including the Bucket List, which expands the organization’s capacity for extended play development opportunities through workshops of plays of scale and ambition, and connects writers with theatres that may produce those plays.
We also make a limited number of grants to playwright collectives, writers who self-produce, playwright-driven initiatives, and playwright service organizations. Organizations receiving support must be tax-exempt, or must demonstrate fiscal sponsorship by a tax-exempt organization. Application is by invitation only.
In 2020-2021, our Plays for Now program (now ended) supported theaters in creating work during the pandemic. We also worked with partner organizations to provide emergency grants and other support for individual artists.
At this time, VTF cannot offer direct grants to individual artists.
Who We Are
Venturous Theater Fund was established by a private foundation in 2012 as a donor-advised fund at the Tides Foundation. Grants are awarded by the Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation based on the recommendation of the VTF trustees, and are subject to the approval of the Tides Foundation. View our grant history.
Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation makes grants to 501 (c) 3 charitable organizations, as well as to organizations operating under fiscal sponsorship of a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit.
How to Contact Us
You may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supporting Risk-Taking, Experimentation, and Ambition in the Theater