Theatre Forward, an association of 19 nonprofit theatres across the Unites States, has named four of its participating regional companies as the inaugural recipients of the Advancing Strong Theatre grants. Dallas Theater Center, Minneapolis' Guthrie Theater, San Diego's Old Globe, and Seattle Repertory Theatre will receive $50,000 each to advance diversity and representation initiatives.
Dallas Theater Center and Seattle Repertory Theatre's grants will go toward Public Works Dallas and Public Works Seattle, two community engagement projects aimed to bridge the gap between professional artists and the local community, culminating in a mainstage presentation that features both professional actors and over a hundred community members. Both pilot programs are affiliated with the Public Theater's Public Works initiative.
Guthrie Theater will further its outreach to local Native communities through its threefold Stories From the Drum. The project aims to create a series of community engagement workshops focused on amplifying Native voices, address barriers that prevent Native community members' access to Guthrie programming, and create a collaborative Native community performance.
The Old Globe's Latinx Initiative, with support from the Theatre Forward grant, will work with community partners in four Latinx neighborhoods in San Diego county to provide access to arts engagement programs, ameliorating the discrepancy between the Latinx community (roughly a third of the county) and the Globe's audience.
The grant recipients were selected by a panel comprised of Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Christopher Acebo, Yale Repertory Theatre's Kelvin Dinkins Jr., Center Theatre Group's Leslie Johnson, Mulwaukee Rep's Jenny Toutant, and Walker Communications International President Donna Walker-Kuhne.