What act yet mightier yet imagineth
Thy venturous spirit?
—The Odyssey, Book IX
Venturous Theater Fund
Venturous Theater Fund (VTF) supports innovative approaches to theatrical production by encouraging playwrights and other theater-makers to take risks in the creation of new plays.
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
(Temporarily suspended due to the pandemic)
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.
During the pandemic, we continue to support new play production and work with partner organizations to provide support for individual artists. Our Next Act grants in the summer/fall of 2021 will be limited to select theaters, with application by invitation only.
Our recent Plays for Now program supported theaters in creating work during the pandemic.
Ongoing programs include the Lark Venturous Playwright Fellowship, in partnership with the Lark, which supports the advancement of ambitious, risk-taking, and innovative plays by providing concurrent residencies for their authors, and advocating for their production by partner theaters. We also 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.
Venturous also makes 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.
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