Philadelphia Theatre Initiative Awards $530,000 to 12 Theatres and 3 Independent Theatre Artists

Philadelphia Theatre Initiative Awards $530,000 to 12 Theatres and 3 Independent Theatre Artists

The Philadelphia Theatre Initiative (PTI), a program funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by Drexel University, today announced the awarding of $530,000 in grants to 12 Philadelphia-area theatres and 3 independent theatre artists. Ranging in amounts from $10,000 to $80,000, 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 eight new plays or theatre works, three regional premieres, three productions in new interpretations, and one musical. That range of offerings continues the Philadelphia area's reputation as one of the country's dynamic theatre regions.

PTI grants are awarded on two levels: Level One accepts applications from established professional nonprofit theatres with income over $175,000. Eligible on Level Two are first-time applicants, emerging theatres of professional intent with income under $175,000, and theatre artists who are not employed full-time by any theatre and wish to pursue independent creative projects.

The recipients and grants awarded for artistic projects scheduled to take place during the 2004-2005 theatre season are as follows:

Level One Theatres:

  1. 1812 Productions $25,000  
  2. Act II Playhouse $40,000  
  3. Arden Theatre Company $80,000  
  4. Bristol Riverside Theatre $50,000  
  5. InterAct Theatre Company $50,000  
  6. Lantern Theatre Company $25,000  
  7. Mum Puppettheatre $25,000  
  8. Philadelphia Theatre Company $80,000  
  9. Pig Iron Theatre Company $25,000  
  10. The Wilma Theatre $80,000

Level Two Theatres:

  1. Enchantment Theatre Company $10,000  
  2. New Paradise Laboratories $10,000

Independent Theatre Artists:

  1. Aaron Cromie $10,000  
  2. Thaddeus Phillips $10,000  
  3. Geoffrey Sobelle $10,000

"PTI grants are awarded on a highly competitive basis following an extensive review process," 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 and development."

To qualify for application, Level One 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.

Level Two theatres qualify for application if they are nonprofit theatres of professional intent based in the five-county Philadelphia region for the preceding two consecutive years. The theatre must have produced at least one public theatrical production in each of those years, had income under $175,000 and submitted an audit or an IRS Form 990 for the most recent fiscal year.

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 professional quality work as evidenced through well crafted and skillfully executed work.

In addition to project grants, PTI supports unique professional development opportunities. Grants ranging in amounts from $500 to $5,000 are available for important research, mentor projects, and artistic consultancies. Other opportunities include professional development excursions to view the work of theatres outside the Philadelphia area to connect with artists from those theatres for an exchange of ideas and information and for investigation of possible future collaborative efforts.

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 2004 International Peer Panel included Timothy Douglas, Associate Artistic Director, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Kentucky; Mallory Gilbert, General Manager of Tarragon Theatre, Toronto, Canada; James Nicola, Artistic Director, New York Theatre Workshop, New York; Neil Pepe, Artistic Director, Atlantic Theatre Company, New York; David Saint, Artistic Director, George Street Playhouse, New Brunswick, New Jersey; Sandra Shinner, Associate Artistic Director, Victory Gardens Theatre, Chicago, Illinois. Serving as Panel Chair was Tisa Chang, Producing Artistic Director, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, New York.

In reaching decisions, panelists consider several criteria, among them the concept and planning for the proposed 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 by panelists throughout the season and the long-range impact of the project on artistic growth and on audiences.

The Philadelphia Theatre Initiative, launched by The Pew Charitable Trusts in 1995, has awarded 111 project grants and supported 94 professional development opportunities. Since 1995, The Trusts has invested $7.79 million in the artistic development of the region's professional theatres and artists through the Initiative. For more information, contact the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative at 215-985-2345 or visit Pew Center for Arts and Heritage.

The Pew Charitable Trusts serves the public interest by providing information, policy solutions and support for civic life. Based in Philadelphia, with an office in Washington, D.C., the Trusts makes investments to provide organizations and citizens with fact-based research and practical solutions on challenging issues. With approximately $4.1 billion in dedicated assets, in 2003 the Trusts committed more than $143 million to 151 nonprofit organizations. For further information about The Pew Charitable Trusts, visit their website at

The Philadelphia Theatre Initiative is administered by the Department of Performing Arts of Drexel University. Drexel is Philadelphia's technology-based, co-operative education university. Drexel University offers 53 bachelor's, 41 master's, and 17 doctoral programs. The University enrolls 11,000 students from 100 nations and has more than 65,000 alumni worldwide.