The Venturous Theater Fund, a fund of Tides Foundation, supports ambitious new work for the stage and the artists who create it. They advance challenging work by creating room for experimentation and risk in new play production with the goal of helping writers achieve the freedom to write plays they fear would otherwise go unproduced; and of enabling producing organizations to say “yes” to worthy but challenging productions.
The Mission of the Venturous Fellowship at Playwrights’ Center is to:
- build a lasting relationship between Venturous playwrights and Playwrights’ Center, and provide these playwrights with the necessary financial resources to sustain them in writing bold and theatrical new work for the theater
- support the development of risk-taking plays and offer transformative support that advances fellowship recipients’ careers
- build intentional relationships between these writers and producing theaters to move Venturous Plays to production, provide financial support that enables theaters to produce them, and empower the Venturous playwrights as they shepherd their work.
Venturous plays are
- Formally adventurous: they break traditional narrative structures or defy the notion of narrative altogether
- Epic in scope: they include challenging production requirements, such as larger casts or difficult design elements
- Full of bold ideas: they handle topics rarely explored in the theater or present ideas in a new way
The Venturous Theater Fellowship is awarded through a combination of nomination and application: an invited group of nominators generates a list of venturous plays that we then share with producing theaters of all sizes across the country. The nominators include playwrights of diverse aesthetic perspectives and at different points in their careers, with an emphasis on including playwrights who bring a bold theatrical vision to their own work. Interested theaters and nominated playwrights form partnerships to apply for the fellowship, the recipients of which are selected by a panel of theater industry leaders. Three fellowships are awarded for each two-year fellowship cycle.
Venturous Theater Fellowships are two-year fellowships that include a $25,000 per year playwright stipend (for a total of $50,000 of direct support to each fellow), over $15,000 in development and holistic artist support and travel/housing to attend the PlayLabs Festival to engage with the work of other artists and connect with theater professionals, and a production subsidy of up to $75,000 that supports the theaters’ productions of the Venturous plays. In addition to this financial and artistic support, Venturous Theater Fellows and their work are promoted by Playwrights’ Center to theaters and audiences across the country.
Along with the announcement of fellowship recipients, the Center publicly shares the list of nominated plays—“Playwrights’ Center’s Venturous List”—to encourage the theater community to join us in supporting challenging, adventurous, and epic theatrical work.
We only accept applications from nominated playwrights, who submit them in partnership with the theaters that they’ve chosen to work with. The 2023–25 Venturous Theater Fellows will be announced in June 2023.
For more information or to request that your theater receive the Venturous List when it is released, please contact Julia Brown.
Frequently asked questions
I wrote a venturous play. Can I apply for this fellowship?
No. Playwrights whose plays are nominated for this fellowship will be contacted and asked to apply.
How are playwrights nominated?
Playwrights’ Center and the Venturous Theater Fund select 50 playwrights to serve as fellowship nominators, with an emphasis on including playwrights who bring a bold theatrical vision to their own work. Nominators are playwrights of diverse aesthetic perspectives and at different points in their careers.
Nominators are asked to nominate plays that exemplify the Venturous spirit. Self-nominations are not accepted.
What is the application process?
The playwrights of all nominated plays are contacted by Playwrights’ Center and asked to confirm their intent to apply. Those who choose to participate are included on the “Venturous List” which includes information about each playwright and about their play. The list is shared widely with producing theaters, which can then request access to the scripts of all nominated plays.
Playwrights’ Center works with nominated playwrights and interested theaters to help them form partnerships. Teams made up of a theater and a playwright apply for the Venturous Theater Fellowship.
I work at a theater that might be interested in producing a venturous play. How do I get involved?
If you are affiliated with a producing theater, please contact Juila Brown to receive the list of nominated plays and more information about applying.