Press Release

Philadelphia Theatre Initiative Awards $547,500 To 8 Theatres And 2 Independent Theatre Artists


The Philadelphia Theatre Initiative (PTI), a program funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by The University of the Arts, today announced the awarding of $547,500 in grants to eight Philadelphia-area theatres and two independent theatre artists. Ranging in amounts from $10,000 to $100,000, the grants are intended to assist theatres and artists with innovative artistic projects and further strengthen the excellence of the Philadelphia regional theatre network.

The funded projects will bring to audiences in the region access to a broad range of theatre, including the world premieres of seven new plays or theatre works, and three regional premieres. That range of offerings continues the Philadelphia area's reputation as one of the country's dynamic theatre regions.

"These grants assure that Philadelphia-area audiences will experience theatre at its most ambitious and inspiring," said Marian Godfrey, director of civic life initiatives at The Pew Charitable Trusts. "We are proud to be a part of the extraordinary blossoming of Philadelphia as a great theatre town." Since 1995, the Trusts has invested $5.83 million in the artistic development of the region's professional theatres and artists through 121 Philadelphia Theatre Initiative project grants and 126 professional development opportunities for research, mentor projects, and artistic consultancies.

The recipients and grants awarded for artistic projects scheduled to take place during the 2005-2006 theatre season are as follows (see project summaries below):

Independent Theatre Artists:

Karen Getz$ 10,000
Anthony Lawton$ 10,000
1812 Productions
$ 50,000
Amaryllis Theatre Company
$ 10,000
Arden Theatre Company
Lantern Theatre Company
$ 25,000
The People's Light and Theatre Company
Philadelphia Theatre Company$100,000
Pig Iron Theatre Company$ 42,500
The Wilma Theatre$100,000

"PTI grants are awarded on a highly competitive basis following an extensive review of proposed projects," according to Marcia Salvatore, director of the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative. "Successful applicants undertake projects that evolve from an intensive process of artistic self-assessment coupled with carefully laid plans for artistic growth."

To qualify for application, theatres must be established nonprofit professional theatres based in the five-county Philadelphia region; must have produced at least three seasons of plays; completed a three-year artistic development plan, and submitted an audit of the most recent fiscal year. Maximum amount a theatre may request is based on the preceding year's income.

The independent theatre artist must have been a legal resident of the five-county region for at least two consecutive years and must be based in the region during the year of the grant. The artist must have a documented history of well crafted and skillfully executed work.

PTI grants are awarded by panels of working professionals with broad knowledge of the field. They take the tasks before them seriously, understanding the pressures theatres and artists are experiencing in generating the resources required to offer high quality work to their audiences.

The 2005 International Theatre Peer Panel included:


  • Emilya Cachapero, Panel Chair, Director of Artistic Programs for Theatre Communications Group (TCG);
  • Casey Childs, Founder and Executive Producer of Primary Stages, New York City;
  • Mallory Gilbert, General Manager of Tarragon Theatre, Toronto, Canada;
  • Morgan Jenness, Dramaturg and Artist Representative, Abrams Artists Agency, New York City;
  • Kathryn Lipuma, Executive Director, Signature Theatre Company, New York City;
  • James Nicola, Artistic Director, New York Theatre Workshop, New York City;
  • Neil Pepe, Artistic Director, Atlantic Theatre Company, New York City;
  • Steve Scott, Associate Producer, The Goodman Theatre, Chicago, Illinois.

The 2005 Independent Theatre Artist Panel included:

  • Sara Garonzik, Producing Artistic Director, Philadelphia Theatre Company;
  • Bill George, Solo Artist and Artistic Director, Kingfisher Theatre Company, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania;
  • Joan Schirle, Solo Artist and Artistic Director, Dell'Arte International Theatre Company, Blue Lake, California.

In reaching decisions, panelists consider several criteria, among them the concept and planning for the project, the professional credentials of the artists to be involved, and the complexity, creativity, and originality of the project. Additional criteria focus on the historic quality of the applicant's work as evaluated throughout the season and the anticipated impact of the project on artistic growth, on audiences, and on the field of theatre.

2005 Philadelphia Theatre Initiative Project Grant Awards

Independent Theatre Artists 
Karen Getz (First-time grantee) 
Grant Award: $10,000
Performance dates: Summer, 2006
Creation, development and production of Suburban Love Songs, a four-phase theatre project that will result in a collaborative comic-actors' ballet.
Anthony Lawton (First-time grantee)
Grant Award: $10,000
Performance dates: December 2, 2005-January 1, 2006
The world premiere of The Foocy, a solo performance piece based on an original prose fairy tale and incorporating musician and puppeteer collaborators. Presented as a work-in-progress at the 2004 Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, The Foocy will be mounted as a full-scale production in collaboration with Lantern Theatre Company.
The Theatres 
1812 Productions 
Grant Award: $50,000
Performance dates: May 19-June 18, 2006
1812 Productions will produce the world premiere of Daughters of Genius, a play by Evan Smith. The production will be directed by Jennifer Childs, Artistic Director of 1812 Productions.
Amaryllis Theatre Company (First-time grantee)
Grant Award: $10,000
Performance dates: May 2006
Amaryllis Theatre Company will produce Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare in synchronized American Sign Language, in collaboration with Gallaudet University.
Arden Theatre Company
Grant Award: $100,000
Performance dates: October 6-November 6, 2005
Arden Theatre Company will produce the regional premiere of Winesburg, Ohio, a musical based on Sherwood Anderson's novel, with book and lyrics by Eric Rosen and music and lyrics by Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman. The production will be directed by Terrence J. Nolen, Producing Artistic Director of the Arden Theatre Company.
Lantern Theatre Company
Grant Award: $25,000
Performance dates: The 2006-2007
Season Project:
Lantern Theatre Company will mount Phase One of a two-year project to develop and workshop a new play, Extinction: A Play, by Amy Gorbey and Justin Coffin, playwrights of Infinite Monkey Writers Collaborative, scheduled for production in the 2006-2007 Season.
The People's Light and Theatre Company
Grant Award: $100,000
Performance dates: The 2006-2007
Season Project:
Over a two-year period, the People's Light and Theatre Company will commission, develop, and produce a new play with music by Tazewell Thompson about the Underground Railroad and the Quaker community. Mr. Thompson will also direct.
Philadelphia Theatre Company
Grant Award: $100,000
Performance dates: May 12-June 11, 2006
Philadelphia Theatre Company will develop and produce the world premiere of Some Men, a new play by Terrence McNally. The play will be directed by Phillip Himberg, Producing Artistic Director of the Sundance Theatre Program.
Pig Iron Theatre Company 
Grant Award: $42,500
Performance dates: June 2-11, 2006
Pig Iron Theatre Company will create and produce Love Unpunished, a new comedic work, directed by company-member Dan Rothenberg.
The Wilma Theatre 
Grant Award: $100,000
Performance dates: Cloud 9: April 19-May 28, 2006; A Number: May 9-June 4, 2006
The Wilma Theatre will produce The Caryl Churchill Festival, featuring two Churchill plays in repertory, Cloud 9 and A Number. Cloud 9 will be directed by Blanka Zizka, Co-Artistic Director of The Wilma Theatre. The director of A Number will be announced later this year.

The Philadelphia Theatre Initiative is one of eight regional cultural initiatives at The Pew Charitable Trusts. Others include the Philadelphia Cultural Leadership Program and Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative, the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, the Philadelphia Music Project, Dance Advance, the Heritage Philadelphia Program, and the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative. Known collectively as the Philadelphia Program, each encourages continued creative growth and excellence within the local arts community. The Pew Charitable Trusts serves the public interest by providing information, policy solutions and support for civic life.

The Philadelphia Theatre Initiative is administered by The University of the Arts, the nation's first and only university dedicated to the visual, performing and communication arts. Its 2,000 students are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs on its campus in the heart of Philadelphia's Avenue of the Arts. Its history as a leader in educating creative individuals spans more than 125 years. For further information about The University of the Arts, phone (215) 717-6000 or visit their website at

Media Contact

Andy Fisher

Senior Director, Communications