What act yet mightier yet imagineth
Thy venturous spirit?

The Odyssey, Book IX
(tr. Chapman)

Venturous Theater Fund

Venturous Theater Fund supports  innovative approaches to theatrical production by encouraging playwrights and other theater-makers to take risks in the creation of new work for the stage.

News and Deadlines

Our Mission

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. In particular, we value developmental processes to the extent that they culminate in production.

Who We Support

VTF supports ambitious new work for the stage and the artists who create it.  VTF supports the production of plays (text-based work only; we do not fund musicals). Organizations receiving support must be tax-exempt, or must demonstrate fiscal sponsorship by a tax-exempt organization. At this time, VTF cannot offer grants to individual artists. All grants will be made by the Tides Foundation at VTF’s recommendation. Application is by invitation only.  

Twice a year we accept Letters of Inquiry for our Venturous Capital Grants program, which supports production of new plays at small and medium-sized theaters by underwriting extraordinary production expenses—specific costs that a theater might otherwise be unable to incur.  

Other 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 the Bucket List initiative at New Dramatists which expands capacity for New Dramatists’ 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. Application is by invitation only.​

Who We Are​

Venturous Theater Fund was established by a private foundation in 2012. Our grants are disbursed via a donor-advised fund at the Tides Foundation on the recommendation of the VTF trustees.  View our grant history.


Program Director
Ben Pesner

Artistic Consultant
Peter Richards

Supporting Risk-Taking, Experimentation, and Ambition in the Theater