NEW YORKâ€”MetLife Foundation and Theatre Communications Group (TCG) have announced the third round of recipients for the A-ha! Program: Think It, Do It, which encourages TCG member theatres to think and act creatively. Six theatres were awarded grants, totaling $225,000, to either research and develop new production ideas or experiment and implement innovative concepts in the theatre field. The total award amount is a 50 percent increase from last yearâ€™s total of $150,000.
â€œIn light of these uncertain economic timesâ€”when many arts organizations are wary of taking risks or seeking to create work through unproven methodsâ€”the A-ha! Program is a beacon to draw our member theatres to experimentation,â€ said Teresa Eyring, executive director of TCG. â€œThis program allows them to strive for new ways of thinking and development and testing new models, without having to shoulder all the financial responsibility.â€
The A-ha! Program has two components: Think It grants ($25,000), which give theatre professionals the time and space for research and development, and Do It grants ($50,000), which support the implementation and testing of new ideas. The program aims to discover and disseminate best practices that can benefit the field by supporting risk-taking, reflection, experimentation and the development of creative strategies in theatres.
â€œMetLife Foundation is proud to continue its partnership with TCG to support not-for-profit theatres seeking new ways to create and develop work and practices that strengthen local communities and the field in general,â€ said Dennis White, president and CEO, MetLife Foundation. â€œWe believe the A-ha! Program is essential to participants in building models of creative strategy.â€
The 2010 A-ha! Program recipients are:
- Pillsbury House Theatre (Minneapolis, Minn.) will develop its transformation into a Cultural Community Hub. The project will focus on assessment and metrics planning that will define and measure organizational success.
- Curious Theatre Company (Denver, Colo.) will explore innovative opportunities for reinventing the resident artistic company model for the 21st century American theatre, by re-centering artists within producing organizations.
- Center Theatre Group (Los Angeles, Calif.) plans to conduct focus groups and interviews with students, academic administrators and theatres to explore an internship model that pairs graduate students in arts administration with Los Angeles theatres.
- Southern Rep (New Orleans, La.) will establish Youth Onstage New Orleans, LA (YO NOLA) as a pilot program to bring the arts to the underserved population at a New Orleans elementary school, via a student-run theatre company. This program includes mentoring, workshops and building life skills.
- Northlight Theatre (Skokie, Ill.) is building Northlight On Campus, a two-year, comprehensive residency program in one underserved suburban middle school featuring after-school drama programs, artist visits, student matinees and a commissioned play for students.
- Dadâ€™s Garage Theatre Company (Atlanta, Ga.) will create their first season of online content in tandem with their live work. This ongoing initiative will be self-sustaining and will redefine them from a theatre company to a creative company.
The process and progress of these recipients will be chronicled on the TCG website, www.tcg.org, and the A-ha! blog, http://aha.tcg.org/.
The grant applications were reviewed by an independent national panel of theatre and technology professionals comprised of Polly Carl, director of artistic development, Steppenwolf Theatre Company (Chicago, Ill.); Brad Carlin, development director, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center & board member/consultant, Salvage Vanguard Theater (New Braunfels, Texas); Ian Garrett, executive director, The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (Los Angeles, Calif.); Thomas O. Kriegsmann, president, ArKtype (New York, N.Y.) and Marilyn Tokuda, arts education director, East West Players (Los Angeles, Calif.).
For more information about the MetLife Foundation, please visit its web site at www.metlife.org.
For more info about TCG, please visit www.tcg.org.
via Stage Directions.