TCG Bulletin

April 2010, Volume 33, Issue 4

Christopher Shuff

Associate Editor:
Claire Mazur

Laurie Baskin
Sarah McLellan
Alissa Moore
Jason Tseng


This month, TCG board member Olga Sanchez reflects on the teleconference series she recently moderated for artistic directors at TCG member theatres. She discusses the oft-overlooked issue that successful artistic directors must be proficient in so much more than just art and directing. She writes, "Artistic directors are administrators, managers, fundraisers, grant writers and public relations officers."

Special Reports

The New Normal: One Year Later, A Report Based on TCG Board “Phone Tree” Conversations—Spring 2010

This is a follow-up to TCG’s February 2009 report, The New Normal, which examined the state of the field in response to the global economic crisis of 2008. The original report was based on conversations between TCG board members and TCG theatres. One year later, TCG’s board of directors again activated the “phone tree,” reaching out to 476 member theatres in January and February 2010 to see how theatres were faring. This report summarizes those conversations, based on the following four questions:
1. What short-term fixes did you undertake that will have/have had long-term impact?
2. What do you think the core challenge is in the coming three years for your own theatre and for the wider field?
3. What’s the most exciting thing you’re working on now OR what do you want to be working on but can’t?
4. Finally, a one word answer: Are you in better/worse/same shape now as at this time last year?

Taking Your Fiscal Pulse-Spring 2010, A Report on the Fiscal Health of the National Not-for-Profit Theatre

Once again, simultaneous with the conversations for The New Normal, TCG conducted the latest iteration of the Taking Your Fiscal Pulse snapshot survey, which focuses more closely on the continuing fiscal impact of the economy. Taking Your Fiscal Pulse—Spring 2010 mirrors many of the findings from the phone tree and provides greater detail about specific fiscal challenges and successes. It examines the state of endowments and cash flow and outlines a list of concerns and priorities in more depth than the phone tree sought to capture. This survey marked TCG’s third collaboration with the Association of Performing Arts Service Organizations (APASO), the result of which was participation by 435 not-for-profit theatres and a greater sense of the state of the national theatre field. Theatres reported on the actual and projected activity for their fiscal year ending anytime between fall 2009 and fall 2010. The national findings from this snapshot survey are presented in this report.

Monthly Mental Health Moment

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that world-renowned mockumentarian Christopher Guest got his start in theatre. In fact, one of his earliest jobs was at TCG member theatre Arena Stage, in their 1971 production of Moonchildren. Waiting for Guffman, Guest’s parody of community theatre, is basically one big inside-joke/generous gift to the theatre world. Now, one of our favorite scenes from the film is our April Fool’s gift to you. We think it’s a wonderful illustration of the movie’s tagline: “There’s a reason some talent remains undiscovered.”

Staff Picks

The newest feature in the TCG Bulletin reveals TCG staff favorites.

Tiffany Mischeshin, Publications Associate Ruth Eglsaer, Special Projects Coordinator
I am constantly impressed by our customer service department–TCG could not survive without them. They handle so many things, such as: emails and phone calls from customers, managing our inventory of in-house magazines and books, processing American Theatre and ARTSEARCH subscriptions, book orders, conference registrations and donations…and that’s just the short list! They are six people doing the job of 20. Customer service and I work together often when it comes to TCG Books; customers call them regularly to inquire about book orders, and whenever I have an issue that I can’t handle, they are more than willing to help…and always with a smile! I am a huge fan of the resource lists that are published online after the annual Fall Forum on Governance. These lists include books written and referenced by Fall Forum speakers, organization links and reports galore! There are even recordings and transcripts of the Forum conversations from recent years. There are a lot of seriously fantastic reports such as; From Nascar to Cirque de Soleil: Lessons in Audience Development and The Arts and State Governments: At Arm’s Length or Arm in Arm? Check them out. Summer is coming and they are the perfect beach read!



TCG Accepting Applications for MetLife/TCG Aha! Program: Think It, Do It

TCG is now accepting applications for MetLife/TCG Aha! Program: Think It, Do It, a program for TCG member theatres that supports creative thinking and action in two ways: Think It grants (up to $25,000) give theatre professionals the time and space for research and development, and Do It grants (up to $50,000) support the implementation and testing of new ideas.

Action: The deadline is May 3. Visit the Grants section of the website for application guidelines and materials.

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TCG National Conference 2010–Pre-Conference on Arts Education

This story was originally published in the January 2010 issue of the Bulletin.
TCG will focus on arts education and assessment at a pre-conference to the June 2010 TCG National Conference. We will follow up on the Building a National TEAM: Theatre Education Assessment Models pre-conference from 2007. Education directors will be trained in adapting the national models for use in their education programs as well as aligning the evaluation and assessment work with federal and state standards.

Action: Visit the Pre-Conferences section of the website for more information and to register.

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2010 TCG National Conference: Ideas into Action, June 17-19 in Chicago at the Palmer House

UPDATED! This story was originally published in the January 2010 issue of the Bulletin.
Join us in Chicago for TCG’s 20th National Conference! Last year, we examined the landscape within which we now work. This year we will dig even deeper, roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty. In addition to providing ample opportunities to talk about “nuts and bolts” issues in your work, we'll focus on four main programming threads: artists and artistry, arts education and training, race and gender and the creative ecology. The 2010 TCG National Conference, Ideas into Action, is your opportunity to explore bold new solutions, cultivate a community that strengthens and nourishes your work and hear from theatres, artists and other thought leaders who will inspire strategic thinking that leads to action.

Action: Invited Artists over the age of 65 and not affiliated with a member organization are now eligible to recieve a 20% discount off regular registration rates. Email for details on how to take advantage of this offer. Visit the Conference section of the website for more information and to register. Visit the Lodging page to reserve your rooms at the Palmer House Hilton, the conference location.

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TCG Publishes Tarell Alvin McCraney's First Play Collection, Sarah Ruhl's Passion Play

The Brother/Sister Plays by Tarell Alvin McCraney will be available from TCG Books later this month. This “lush and gorgeous triptych” (Chicago Tribune) includes In the Red and Brown Water, The Brothers Size and Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet, and is the first collection by the celebrated young playwright. Also available will be Passion Play, Sarah Ruhl’s “biggest, most ambitious effort yet” (New York Times).

Action: Visit the TCG Bookstore to purchase these and other titles from TCG Books.



President Obama Signs Health Care Legislation–What Does it Mean for Not-for-Profit Arts Organizations?

One of the very first provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPAC) to be immediately enacted is a tax credit to small businesses to make employee coverage more affordable (2010 through 2013). The PPAC Act provides tax credits to assist small employers, with 25 or fewer employees with average wages under $50,000, to extend health insurance to their workforce. Qualifying 501(c)3 organizations would be eligible to apply the credit to taxes withheld from payroll. Not-for-profits could take a credit in the initial period of 25 percent of the employer contribution and 35 percent in subsequent years, and apply the credit to taxes they withhold from payroll. Other provisions of PPAC:

* Expand coverage to 94 percent of all Americans, prohibits the denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions and prohibits increases in premium rates due to pre-existing conditions or gender

* Require all U.S. citizens and legal residents to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty of up to $695 per adult (indexed after 2016)

* Establish affordability tax credits, referred as premium credits, based on a sliding scale for individuals and families to obtain health insurance through exchanges up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level

* Do not include a public insurance option. Instead, the bill would authorize the creation of self-sustaining consumer owned and operated (CO-OP) plans

* Do not require employers to offer insurance coverage to their employees, but employers with more than 50 full-time employees that do not offer health coverage must pay a fee ($750) to the federal government for each employee who receives the individual premium credit. The first 30 employees would be exempted from the fee payment calculation

* Include a major financing component to levy a 40 percent excise tax on insurance companies and administrators for health care plans valued above $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families; also includes a provision to raise the Medicare tax for high-income filers; adds a 3.8 percent assessment to unearned income; and provisions to make changes to the tax treatment of not-for-profit hospitals

TCG is hopeful that this new legislation will make affordable health insurance more readily available to artists, arts administrators, artisans and technicians. Furthermore, the legislation provides incentives to not-for-profit employers that are equivalent to those provided to for-profit employers. This is the position TCG adopted last October and we hope that this has a positive impact on the overall health of the field. Please note that this story was written shortly after the passage of the health reconciliation bill and if there were last-minute changes, we will make corrections in the next TCG Bulletin. Finally, some elected officials are threatening to repeal this legislation, and a number of State Attorneys General have filed suit to block the legislation in their states. This legislation could change so TCG will continue to track the issue, and will report any changes going forward.

Action: Visit the Independent Sector website for more inforamtion.
Source: Independent Sector

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President Signs Jobs Bill

President Obama signed the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act on March 18. The $17.6 billion jobs-creation measure includes $13 billion in payroll tax incentives for businesses and not-for-profits to hire new workers, an expansion of incentives for financing construction activity and an extension of higher expensing limits for capital investments made by small businesses. The payroll tax incentives relieve employers from paying their 6.2 percent share of Social Security payroll tax for each new hire for the remainder of 2010.

Action: Visit the IRS website and consult your accountant or auditor.

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House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Leadership Change

On March 9, Congressman Jim Moran (VA-8) was officially named Chairman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which includes NEA funding under its purview. He replaces Congressman Norm Dicks (WA-6), who has assumed Chairmanship of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. Congressman Dicks has been a true arts champion in Congress. Congressman Moran has a history of strong support for the arts and we look forward to working with him.

Action: TCG urges you to join us in thanking Congressman Dicks for his long-time support of the NEA, and to welcoming Congressman Moran to this important position.

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TCG Files Written Testimony to the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee

As part of our annual advocacy activities, TCG has filed formal written testimony to the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds the NEA, to encourage increased funding for the NEA.

Action: Visit the Advocacy section of the website to read the full testimony.

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White Space Update!

UPDATED! This story was originally published in the August 2009 issue of the Bulletin.
The FCC has set June 12 as the date by which all wireless microphone users must vacate the 700 MHz spectrum. TCG, working with the Coalition of Wireless Microphone Users (CWMU), filed Comments on March 1 with the FCC and Reply-Comments on March 22 regarding the licensing of wireless microphones used in the performing arts. TCG and the Performing Arts Alliance also filed Reply-Comments on March 22.

Action: Visit the Advocacy section of the website for more information about the June 12 vacate deadline and to see the filings.

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Increased FY 2010 Funding to State Department/Educational and Cultural Exchange Programs

Congressional conferees, in determining the FY 2010 appropriations for the Educational and Cultural Exchange Programs at the Department of State, endorsed House Report language “regarding the allocation of at least $3,000,000 from the increase provided for fiscal year 2010 to expand exchange programs and activities in the visual arts, performing arts, film, arts education, arts management and cultural studies. The conferees intend that the funds for expanding arts programs and activities be awarded on a competitive and transparent basis in accordance with all applicable rules and regulations."

Action: As information becomes available regarding guidelines, deadlines and applications we will pass it along. Please stay tuned.

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State Arts Funding Decreases in Fiscal Year 2010

Legislative appropriations to state arts agencies decreased by 10 percent in fiscal year 2010, according to the Legislative Appropriations Annual Survey, published by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA). Between fiscal years 2009 and 2010, state arts agencies lost $32.8 million in state funds, leaving total legislative appropriations to state arts agencies at $297.0 million, or $0.96 per capita. Excluding a new appropriation to Minnesota of $21.7 million, total appropriations decreased by $54.5 million or 16.5%. Fiscal year 2010 marks the second year in a row of declines to legislative appropriations, following four consecutive years of increases.

Action: Visit the NASAA website to view the full report (PDF).

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White House Announces 2009 National Medal of Arts Recipients

In late February, President Barack Obama presented the National Medal of Arts to ten recipients for their outstanding achievements and support of the arts. Here is the list of recipients:

Bob Dylan, Singer, Songwriter
Clint Eastwood, Director, Actor
Milton Glaser, Graphic Designer
Maya Lin, Artist, Designer
Rita Moreno, Singer, Dancer, Actress
Jessye Norman, Soprano
Joseph P. Riley, Jr., Arts Patron, Design Advocate
Frank Stella, Painter, Sculptor
Michael Tilson Thomas, Conductor
John Williams, Composer, Conductor

The Oberlin Conservatory of Music
The School of American Ballet

Action: Visit the NEA website to read the full report.

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2010 National Arts Advocacy Day, April 12-13

This story was originally published in the December 2009 issue of the Bulletin.
The dates for the 2010 Arts Advocacy Day have been announced–April 12-13. The 23rd annual Arts Advocacy Day is the only national event that brings together a broad cross-section of America’s cultural and civic organizations, along with hundreds of grassroots advocates from across the country, to underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts and letting congressional leaders know that the arts are an economic engine for development.

Action: Visit the Americans for the Arts website to register. Email Laurie Baskin at TCG so your visit can be coordinated with other theatre advocates.

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Americans for the Arts Hosts Half-Century Summit in Baltimore, MD, June 25-27

The keynote speaker will be Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post. She will give her address the first day of the convening and will focus on how the arts and culture fit into our society, communications and information-sharing looking toward the future.

Action: The registration deadline is May 24. .Visit the Americans for the Arts website to register.



Corporation for National and Community Service Social Innovation Fund Competition Accepting Applications

Federal funds are available for the newly created Social Innovation Fund, which is designed to promote public and private investments in effective not-for-profit community organizations to help them replicate and expand to serve more low-income communities, create new knowledge about how to solve critical social challenges and develop the grantmaking infrastructure necessary to support the work of social innovation in communities across the United States.

Action: The deadline is April 8. Visit the Corporation for National and Community Service website for application guidelines and materials.

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Call for Presenters: Dramaturgy Debut Panel, ATHE 2010 Conference in Los Angeles

The Dramaturgy Focus Group has announced a competitive Debut Panel to showcase outstanding and innovative work by emerging dramaturgs in educational and professional theatre. Graduate students, interns or new professional dramaturgs who have provided dramaturgy during the past three years are eligible to apply.

Action: The deadline for submission of a prospectus is April 10. Email Cynthia SoRelle, Debut Panel coordinator, for more information.

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VSA arts Seeking Teaching Artists with Disabilities for Professional Development Fellowship Program

VSA arts is seeking applications from artist-educators for the Teaching Artist Fellowship, a program to identify, engage and support outstanding teaching artists with disabilities in the visual and performing arts.

Action: The deadline is April 23. Visit the VSA arts website for applications guidelines and materials.

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2011 P73 Playwriting Fellowship Accepting Applications

This yearlong fellowship provides cash, development and career support to one writer annually.

Action: The deadline is May 1. Visit the Page 73 website for applications guidelines and materials.

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The Innovation Lab for the Performing Arts Request for Proposals Round 4

This program, designed and managed by EmcArts, is a 12-month lab that helps performing arts organizations incubate and test innovative strategies to address major challenges. Please note that further RFPs will be issued later in 2010 for Rounds 5 and 6.

Action: The deadline is May 19. Visit the EmcArts website for application guidelines and materials.

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Harriet Beecher Stowe Center Stowe Prize Accepting Applications

The Stowe Prize is a $10,000 award to recognize a United States author whose written work makes a tangible impact on a social justice issue critical to contemporary society.

Action: The deadline is June 1. Visit the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center website for application guidelines and materials.

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Future Ten Play Festival Accepting Submissions

This annual, ten-minute play festival produced by the alternative art space Future Tenant, will be held in Pittsburgh in November.

Action: The deadline is June 21. Visit the Future Tenant website for application guidelines and materials.



TCG National Conference 2010: Pre-Conference on Arts Education

Action: See story in TCG News section

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Grant Opportunity through Target Stores for Arts Programs for Kids

Target’s Store Grant program will provide direct support to not-for-profits and K-12 schools that provide art experiences. Under the category “Art and Culture in Schools”, Target will fund in-school arts programs that enhance classroom curriculum by bringing arts and cultural experiences such as in-school performances, artist-in-residency programs and workshops into the classroom.

Action: The deadline is April 30. Visit the Target website for application guidelines and materials.



Third Annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium, Washington DC, April 11

Held annually the Sunday prior to Arts Advocacy Day, this symposium will take place at American University and will feature a full day of professional development for emerging arts professionals. This year’s keynote speaker will be Ben Cameron of the Doris Duke Foundation.

Action: Visit the American University website for more information and to register.

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The Southampton Playwriting Conference, Southampton, NY, July 14-25 and July 28-August 1

This conference provides a unique opportunity for participants to develop work in an intensive laboratory setting with professional actors and directors. Workshops, lectures, readings and panel discussions make for a vibrant and creative community experience.

Action: Visit the Stonybrook website for more information and to register.



Portland Center Stage Receives $400,000 Grant

Portland Center Stage, in Portland, OR received $400,000 for operating support from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation.



The IX International DAH School for Directors and Actors

This is an intense three week program of events and practical working sessions designed for actors and directors based on contemporary theatre techniques, devised theatre techniques and DAH Teatar’s specific path of creation.

Action: The deadline is May 15. Visit the DAH Teatar website for more information and application materials.



Mid-Career Arts Managers Invited to Apply for Kennedy Center Fellowship Program

This program provides ten mid-career arts managers with academic training and practical work experience at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The nine-month, full-time program begins in September.

Action: The deadline is April 21. Visit the Kennedy Center website for application guidelines and materials.

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Stanford Social Innovation Review Publishes Article on Not-for-Profit Mergers

This article, by David La Piana, considers the pros and cons of not-for-profit mergers, as well as offering a explanations of alternative methods of partnerships for financially distressed organizations.

Action: Visit the Stanford Social Innovation Review website to read the full article.



LMDA University Caucus Sourcebook, Volume 4 Seeking Contributions

This dramaturgy sourcebook compiles resources by fellow dramaturgy colleagues to assist the education and practice of dramaturgy in academic and production settings. The editors are seeking contributions of materials to share with colleagues through this important dramaturgical resource.

Action: Submissions will be collected throughout the year. Please submit early and often. Submit materials to Bryan Moore.

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HipChat Free for Not-for-Profits

HipChat, an all-in-one chat application designed for group collaboration, is being offered free to not-for-profits and very small groups. The desktop client includes chat rooms, file sharing, searchable chat history, notifications, and instant image preview.

Action: Contact HipChat to learn more about obtaining a free account.



Lamb's Players Theatre

PO Box 182229
Coronado, CA 92178
tel (619) 437-6050
fax (619) 437-6053
Robert Smyth, Pr


April 1: (noon EST) ARTSEARCH deadline for April 1 issue
April 15: (noon EST) ARTSEARCH deadline for April 15 issue
May 3: TCG/MetLife Aha! Program Application Deadline
May 10: Reservations deadline for the July/August issue of American Theatre


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Information appearing in the TCG Bulletin may not be reprinted without permission.