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TCG Bulletin

November 2008, Volume 31, Issue 11

Also online this month:


In the November Field Letter, Teresa highlights some important referendums and propositions that will be decided on November 4, reports on her trips to the LORT meeting in Minneapolis and the Theatre Bay Area’s annual meeting, and offers resources for keeping up with economic developments. In recognizing that theatres have been “experiencing a softening of attendance,” Teresa applauds the October Free Night of Theater campaign launch. In spite of the “chaos in the economy,” she reports, “What we’ve been hearing—by and large—from theatres is that they are indeed attracting new audiences, especially younger and more diverse audiences. As we continue to conduct research and survey the audiences who attend through Free Night, we are finding that a large percentage of audiences do return to buy a full price ticket. Some theatres report difficulties with no-shows, but many feel that the benefits are still plentiful enough to make this situation tolerable—and we are working on ways to minimize the problem.”



Deadline Approaching for the 2009 TCG Observership Program

The TCG Observership Program, a $2,000 geographically unrestricted travel grant, provides opportunities for key staff at TCG’s member theatres to broaden their exposure to the field and strengthen their organizations.

Action: The postmark deadline for applications is November 3. Visit the Grants section of the website for application materials and more information.

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Limited Space Still Available for Radical Shifts, the TCG Fall Forum, November 7–9 in New York!

Fall Forum 2008 will address radical shifts that are occurring in our world. How will changes in communications, politics, cultural policy, the economy and other sectors impact theatre? How can theatres “stay ahead of the curve” and be prepared to operate in an environment of constant, radical change?

  • Friday’s keynote address, which will take place only three days after the 2008 Presidential Election, will be delivered by Mark Halperin, an editor-at-large and senior political analyst for Time, political analyst for ABC News and the author of The Undecided Voter’s Guide to the Next President: Who the Candidates Are, Where They Come From, and How You Can Choose.
  • A discussion of current economic trends with Janet Babin, the Innovations reporter for American Public Media’s Marketplace, who reports extensively on economic trends and the arts.
  • A panel discussion on the ongoing changes in cultural reporting and journalism with Leonard Jacobs, first string critic for the New York Press and author of the blog The Clyde Fitch Report; Frank Rizzo, an arts reporter for the Hartford Courant, Variety, American Theatre magazine and other periodicals; Dan Shelley, executive editor of Digital Media for WCBS-TV and WCBSTV.com; and other media thought leaders.
  • A discussion of shifting demographics and the way theatres are adjusting to be more inclusive and reflective of the communities they serve with Tim Bond, producing artistic director of Syracuse Stage; Mia Katigbak, artistic director of the National Asian American Theatre Company; Peter Lobo, deputy director of the Population Division of the New York City Department of City Planning; and Paul Nicholson, executive director of Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
  • NEW! A discussion of philanthropic giving in troubled economies with a panel of arts funders from the private and public sector including Jessica Chao, vice president, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors; Cheryl Ikemiya, program officer for the arts, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; Vicki Reiss, executive director, Shubert Foundation; Angel Ysaguirre, director of global community investing, The Boeing Company; and Robert Zukerman, theatre program director, New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA).

Teams of trustees and artistic and managing leaders are strongly encouraged to attend. Attendance is limited to 150 participants, and each member theatre may bring up to 5 participants. Please forward this invitation to your trustees!

Action: There is still some limited availability for registration. Visit the Events section of the website for more information and registration materials.

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Snapshot Survey: Taking Your Fiscal Pulse Report Now Available Online

While TCG's annual Fiscal Survey provides an unparalleled in-depth look at the fiscal health of the field, many member theatres have expressed a wish for an up-to-the-minute sense of how everyone is doing. Conducted in early Fall 2008, TCG's Snapshot Survey: Taking Your Fiscal Pulse reports the vital signs of 241 TCG member theatres at the close of their most recent fiscal year.

Action: Visit the Snapshot Survey section of our website to download the report (PDF).

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Theatre Facts 2007: Everything You Wanted to Know But Were Afraid To Ask! Audio Transcript Now Available Online

Close to 200 people participated in this Leadership Teleconference on October 2. Zannie Voss, the Fiscal Survey data analyzer and co-author of Theatre Facts, led participants through a presentation of highlights from Theatre Facts 2007 and was joined by a panel of theatre leaders to give context to the findings and discuss the fiscal realities facing theatres today.

Action: Visit the Leadership Teleconferences section of our website to listen to the audio transcript.

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2009 TCG National Conference: Roots. Renaissance. Revolution. June 4–6 in Baltimore, MD

From June 4–6, 2009, the theatre community will come together in Baltimore, MD to investigate the possibilities of our future, to share the stories of our past and to explore the complexities of our present. We stand on the verge of a generational shift as the resident theatre movement nears its fiftieth anniversary and new artistic and administrative leaders emerge. Join us and our opening keynote speaker, the groundbreaking artist John Waters, as we celebrate new perspectives while continuing to cherish the stories that have defined the movement.

TCG will also hold a pre-conference in Washington, D.C. on June 3 and 4, with a reception on June 2. Pre-conference attendees will choose between workshops on the power of participating in national policy-making through advocacy, and the art of cultural diplomacy through global theatre exchange.

Action: Visit the Conference section of the website for more information. Online registration will begin in January 2009.

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TCG's Fourth Annual Free Night of Theater a Huge Success!

Free Night of Theater 2008, TCG's national audience development program, opened in over 120 cities on Thursday, October 16. The annual Free Night program continues to be a huge success with more than 650 theatres offering 55,000 tickets to more 1,200 performances. If you missed out on participating in the 2008 program, mark your calendars now! Next year's program will open on Thursday, October 15, 2009 and the buzz is already building across the country. Start making your Free Night plans today!

Action: Contact pmatthews@tcg.org to learn more about the 2009 Free Night of Theater program, including details on how to participate.



White Spaces Update

On October 15, 2008, the FCC issued its technical report outlining the findings from its 2008 testing of white spaces devices. The 400 page report includes this statement, "At this juncture, we [the FCC] believe that the burden of 'proof of concept' has been met. We are satisfied that spectrum sensing in combination with geo-location and database access techniques can be used to authorize equipment today under appropriate technical standards." Further, FCC Chairman Martin has scheduled a vote for November 4, 2008, on Chairman Martin's plan to open the white spaces to new portable devices.

Action: Visit the Advocacy section of the website to read the test report. On the same web page, you will also find links to the Performing Arts Alliance filings with the FCC. TCG and the Performing Arts Allianace are tracking this issue closely. Please stay tuned for more information in the coming months on how the FCC rules and how their ruling will affect the use of wireless microphones.

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Senator McCain Issues Arts Statement

The following statement was recently released by the McCain campaign: “John McCain believes that arts education can play a vital role for steering creativity and expression. He is a strong believer in empowering local school districts to establish priorities based on the needs of local schools and school districts. Schools receiving federal funds for education must be held accountable for providing a quality education in basic subjects critical to ensuring students are prepared to compete and succeed in the global economy. Where these local priorities allow, he believes investing in arts education can play a role in nurturing the creativity of expression so vital to the health of our cultural life and providing a means of creative expression for young people.”

Action: Visit the ArtsVote website to view this statement.

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Congress Approves IRA Rollover Extension

In the last few hours remaining before Congress adjourned, a top policy priority for theatres and the broader not-for-profit community met with success! Congress approved a two-year extension of the IRA Charitable Rollover provision. The IRA Rollover was included in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act passed by Congress signed by the President.

The IRA Charitable Rollover produced new and increased donations when it was in effect last year. Before the original enactment of the IRA Rollover provision in August 2006, individuals who made charitable gifts from their retirement accounts had to withdraw funds and treat them as taxable income, reducing the amount available for donation to charity. The provision spurred millions of dollars in new giving to not-for-profit organizations before it expired in December 2007.

IRA Rollover Highlights:

  • Reinstated in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008
  • Applies to gifts made after December 31, 2007
  • Permits donors age 70 ½ and older to make tax-free charitable gifts directly from their IRAs
  • Caps qualifying gifts to an annual ceiling of $100,000
  • Expires December 31, 2009

Over the past year, theatres joined thousands of other advocates in the arts and not-for-profit fields, taking action to help their communities benefit from the IRA Charitable Rollover provision by asking members of Congress to support the IRA Charitable Rollover. In response to Performing Arts Alliance Action Alerts, theatres delivered personalized letters and emails to policymakers, telling the story of how increased charitable giving supports the public value created by theatres in communities large and small across the country.

Action: Please thank you Members of Congress! Visit the Performing Arts Alliance. website for a sample letter you can send to your Member of Congress thanking them for extending the rollover.

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Clarification on Accountable Plan Rules!

We have recently obtained important clarification from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding expense payments for foreign guest artists. Published and verbal guidance from the IRS has been confusing and contradictory on the question of whether expense reimbursements and payments made to third parties on behalf of foreign artists are subject to withholding. Previous guidance from the IRS has indicated that these payments are subject to withholding. The newest word from the IRS, however, indicates otherwise.

The most recent verbal guidance from the IRS, as well as the IRS’s written guidance, indicates that the "accountable plan rules" are applicable to nonresident aliens working as independent contractors in the United States. In effect, an expense reimbursement made to a foreign artist in accordance with these rules is not reportable as income, and is not subject to 30 percent withholding. The accountable plan rules also apply to expenses paid to third parties on the artist’s behalf (e.g., hotel accommodations and/or travel paid for or provided by a presenter).

Answers to your most frequently asked questions regarding the tax requirements for foreign guest artists are now available online. Thanks to expert assistance provided by Artists from Abroad author and attorney Robyn Guilliams, the tax FAQ posted on the Artists from Abroad web site provides an overview of the most common inquiries regarding withholding requirements, tax returns and identification numbers for foreign guest artists.

Action: Visit the Artists From Abroad website to learn more about the rules, and exceptions, in updated guidance regarding payments subject to withholding. The FAQ are also available on the Artists from Abroad website.



Applications for the 2009 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, July 6–26 in Sundance, UT

Applications are now being accepted for the 2009 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, which will take place July 6–26 at the Sundance Resort in Sundance, UT. Operated under the umbrella of the Sundance Institute, founded by Robert Redford, the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab is a three-week workshop for playwrights, directors, choreographers, composers, solo performers and ensembles. Projects at any stage of development are eligible for submission. Submitted work cannot have been previously produced, but may have received prior workshops or readings. In addition, projects scheduled to receive a production before October 25, 2009, are not eligible. Commissioned work is eligible for submission.

Action: The application deadline is December 1. Visit the Sundance Institute website for application materials and more information.



Surdna Arts Teachers Fellowship Program Announces Application Deadline

The Surdna Foundation announces the ninth year of a national initiative to support the artistic revitalization of outstanding arts teachers in public arts high schools. Surdna recognizes that arts teachers often lack the time and resources to reconnect with other arts professionals and with the artistic processes they teach. Through the Surdna Arts Teachers Fellowship Program, Fellows will design individualized courses of study that will provide both immersion in their own creative work and the opportunity to interact with other professional artists in their fields.

Twenty awards of up to $5,500 each, with a complementary grant of $1,500 to the Fellow's school to support post-fellowship activities, will be made. The fellowship award may be used to defray the costs of tuition and other fees, room and board, travel, purchase of materials and/or equipment for personal art-making, childcare and other relevant expenses.

Action: The deadline to submit an online letter of intent to apply is November 14 at 4:00pm. Visit the Surdna Foundation website for complete application guidelines and materials.

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Dana Press Publishes Transforming Arts Teaching: The Role of Higher Education

Published by the Dana Press, Transforming Arts Teaching: The Role of Higher Education examines innovations in arts-teacher training. Best practices at 24 higher-education institutions are featured, along with proceedings from Dana’s national symposium, an event that examined ways in which colleges, universities and conservatories can enhance arts learning.

Action: Visit the Dana Foundation website to download a copy of the report. Free copies of the report are also available on written or faxed request; visit the Dana Foundation website for more information.



Call for Presentations: Ecodrama Symposium on Ecology and Theatre, May 21–31 in Eugene, OR

The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (CSPA) in partnership with Earth Matters on Stage (EMOS) and Theatre at the University of Oregon, Eugene, are requesting proposals from the national arts community for presentations on building ecologically and economically sustainable models in the arts for the Ecodrama Playwrights Festival and Symposium on Ecology, May 21–31. The CSPA is a start-up arts-service organization focused on researching, developing and implementing change to increase the ecological and economic sustainability of the arts in the United States. Preference will be given to presentations that focus on critical analysis, scientific data and documentation as the basis of support of a project’s relationship to issues of sustainability.

Action: Visit the EMOS website for the complete call for proposals, and for more information on EMOS and CSPA.



Foundation Center Research Advisory: Foundation Giving Could Remain Stable Despite Economic Downturn

According to a research advisory recently issued by the Foundation Center, the impact of the current economic crisis on overall foundation giving may be less than current market conditions suggest. Steven Lawrence, senior director of research at the Foundation Center, draws upon existing data and research to show that foundation giving has historically remained relatively stable in prior recessionary periods and times of economic distress. Lawrence cites the establishment of new foundations; substantial gifts to the endowments of existing foundations; and the determination of foundations’ grant budgets based on a rolling average of their asset over the prior two-to-five years as factors that have helped foundation giving remain stable in past times of economic recession and crisis.

Action: Visit the Foundation Center website to read the research advisory.

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Center for High Impact Philanthropy Releases Report on High Net Worth Philanthropists' Approaches to Giving

“I’m Not Rockefeller”: 33 High Net Worth Philanthropists Discuss Their Approach to Giving, recently released by the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of PA, finds that many wealthy donors do not find not-for-profit overhead costs to be a measure of organizational effectiveness. The report also finds that most surveyed wealthy donors chose to make gifts based mostly on information obtained from peers and other social contacts, rather than doing research or consulting online charity databases.

Action: Visit the Center for High Impact Philanthropy website to download a copy of the report.

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Theatre Organizations Receive Major Grants to Explore New Business Practices and Programs

The Nonprofit Finance Fund, which is funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, announced a major initiative to award $15.125 million over five years to ten arts organizations in order to tackle sector-wide challenges such as shifting audiences, decreased funding sources and new technologies. Among the recipients are:

  • Center Theatre Group, to explore new subscription and producing models resonant with young audiences
  • Ping Chong and Company, to explore a new financial model by franchising a community-organizing experimental theatre project
  • SITI Company, to establish this ensemble-based theatre company as a resident New York City organization with relevant partnerships and support
  • Steppenwolf Theatre Company, to explore new models of producing and engaging young audiences, including partnerships with other arts groups and universities
  • The Wooster Group, to explore a new producing model, pursue partnerships and take on a new educational role in contemporary theatre

Action: None

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The Children's Theatre Company Receives Major Grant

The Children’s Theatre Company received $105,000 from the F.R. Bigelow Foundation to expand the Neighborhood Bridges program to the East Metro area of Minneapolis.

Action: None

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy, October 16, 2008

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The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and the George Street Playhouse Receive Major Grants

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey received $175,000 and the George Street Playhouse received $170,000 for general operating support from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

Action: None

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy, October 16, 2008

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Steppenwolf Theatre Company Receives Major Grant

The Steppenwolf Theatre Company received $600,000 over three years from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as part of a new initiative to expand the commissioning for the development of new plays for the American stage.

Action: None

Source: Playbill.com, October 14, 2008



Applications for the Rome Prize in Sound, Lighting and Set Design

Applications are now being accepted for the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome to pursue individual research and career development projects. Rome Prize fellowships are designed for emerging artists and for scholars in the early or middle stages of their careers. Winners of six and 11-month fellowships each receive stipends of $12,500 and $25,000, respectively, plus room and board. Arts fellowships are offered in the fields of lighting design, set design, sound design and other fields.

Action: The application deadline is November 1, with an extended deadline of November 15 for an additional fee. Visit the Rome Prize website for complete application guidelines and more information.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy, October 16, 2008

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USArtists International Expands Grant Focus to Include Theatre Ensembles

Formerly limited to supporting dance and music ensembles invited to perform at international festivals in Europe, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation has announced an expansion of the grant-making focus of USArtists International, a national initiative dedicated to promoting the work of American artists abroad. Grants are now available to American dance, music and theatre ensembles and solo artists that have been invited to participate in international festivals outside the United States.

Action: The application deadline for projects taking place between March 1, 2009 and February 28, 2010 is January 9, 2009. Visit the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation website for complete program guidelines and application materials.

Source: The Foundation Center RFP Bulletin, September 26, 2008



The Chronicle of Philanthropy Creates Special Online "Financial Crisis" Section

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has compiled recent stories, live discussions and statistics about how charities deal with turbulent economic times in a special “Financial Crisis” section on their website. Some featured articles include How a Recession Would Affect Fund Raising (February 2008), Surviving Tough Times (September 2008) and a transcript of the live discussion Corporate Fund Raising in a Turbulent Economy (August 2008).

Action: Visit the Chronicle of Philanthropy website to view the special section. Paid registration is required to view some of the articles.

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Kennedy Center's Michael Kaiser Featured in Chronicle of Philanthropy's 2008 Guide to Managing Nonprofits

Michael Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, is the focus of the feature article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s 2008 edition of Guide to Managing Nonprofits. The Chronicle interviews Kaiser about his new book on managing not-for-profit arts organizations, The Art of the Turnaround, which details Kaiser’s experiences helping to revitalize troubled arts organizations. Other articles featured in the Guide to Managing Nonprofits include an article on improving communications with board members, and tips and suggestions for dealing with crisis and disaster.

Action: Visit the Chronicle of Philanthropy website to read the Guide to Managing Nonprofits 2008 (paid subscription required).



ReVision Theatre

PO Box 973
Asbury Park, NJ 07712
tel (732) 807-4872
fax (732) 692-6558
David E. Leidholdt, Producing Artistic Director
Thomas Morrissey, Producing Artistic Director
Stephen Bishop Seely, Producing Artistic Director
Bob Angelini, Board President

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Kaiser Permanente

1 Kaiser Plaza, #21B
Oakland, CA 94612
Tel (510) 271-6381
Fax (510) 267-4857
John Edmiston, Community Relations Manager

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Syracuse University

Syracuse University
Drama Dept
820 E Genesee St
Syracuse, NY 13244
Tel (315) 443-1435
Fax (315) 443-9846
Leslie Noble, Administrative Specialist

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University of Houston

University of Houston
School of Theatre & Dance
133 CWM
Houston, TX 77204-4013
Tel (713) 743-3003
Fax (713) 743-2648
Brandy Robichau, Assoc Director of Communications Relations

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University of Iowa

University of Iowa
Hancher Auditorium
231 Hancher Auditorium
Iowa City, IA 52242-1794
Tel (319) 335-1130
Fax (319) 335-1180
Charles Swanson, Executive Director


November 3: Application deadline for TCG Observership Program 2009
November 7: Reservation deadline for January issue of American Theatre
November 14: (noon EST) ArtSEARCH deadline for December 1 issue
November 19: Ad materials deadline for January issue of American Theatre
December 1: (noon EST) ArtSEARCH deadline for December 15 issue
December 9: Reservation deadline for February issue of American Theatre
January 23: Application deadline for NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Theatre Designers
January 30: Application deadline for NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Theatre Directors
March 13: Application deadline for New Generations Future Collaborations Summer/Fall 2009/2010




Wanted: Electronic Human Resources Documents for TCG's Topical Files

As a service for member theatres, TCG maintains electronic resource files for inquiries about performance reviews, job descriptions, organizational structure, trustee evaluation, software packages and more. Some of our most useful and most requested files contain employee handbooks, reviews, job descriptions and contracts that are submitted by member theatres to be used as a resource by other member theatres.

All member theatres are encouraged to send us any electronic human resources-related documents they utilize for inclusion in these files. We can remove any language that identifies your theatre, if you wish to contribute anonymously. In particular, we are looking to expand our collection of employment contracts for full-time and management-level staff, but we gladly welcome any and all submissions. Also, if you have worked with a consultant that you particularly would recommend, please forward their information as well.

Action: If you have any documents that you would like to contribute to our files, please email them as an attachment (Microsoft Word preferred) to Sarah McLellan .

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Update Your Staff Contacts with TCG

TCG sends email notification of the TCG Bulletin and Field Letter directly to general managers, education directors, business managers, marketing directors, PR directors, literary managers, dramaturgs, development directors and associate artistic directors at TCG member theatres. We do this in order to keep staff informed of the activities and developments of the not-for-profit theatre field, to deepen staff knowledge of TCG and to increase participation in our programs. Many of these senior staff already participate in TCG programs and have sent TCG their email addresses. However, we are far from a complete list. We strongly encourage you to send us email contacts for all senior staff at your theatre, and to inform us of any staff changes when they occur.

Action: To receive the TCG Bulletin and Field Letter by email or to inform TCG of staff changes at your theatre, contact Gregg Gomez .

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TCG Requests Production Posters

TCG is requesting posters from your theatre's current season. We prominently display members' posters in our office, which not only creates a lively and attractive work environment but also helps us showcase the full diversity of our membership to the artists, funders, government leaders, theatre administrators and board members who visit TCG. We also remind you to send posters to your federal, state and local legislators. They often like to display their constituents' posters in their offices.

Action: Mail posters to Demosthenes Chrysan, TCG, 520 Eighth Avenue, 24th Floor, New York, NY 10018-4156, as well as your legislators.

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TCG Trustee Leadership Network

All trustees of TCG member theatres are eligible to join the TCG Trustee Leadership Network. For $100 annually, the network affords trustees the following benefits: American Theatre magazine; annual TCG Theatre Directory; and notification of management publications including the TCG Bulletin, Field Letter and Centerpiece. Please encourage your board members to join.

Action: Visit the Membership section of the website to download a registration form or for more information.

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TCG Seeks Interns

TCG's Internship Program is looking for highly motivated individuals with good organizational, communication and computer skills. Learn about contemporary American theatre through contact with the artists and professionals who work in our over 450 member theatres, as well as constant interaction with the TCG staff and its unique resources. Internships are offered year-round in the following areas: Artistic Programs, Fundraising, Communications, Management Programs, Advocacy/Education Programs, American Theatre magazine/Publications, National Conference, Graphic Design, Business Administration and Website. Summer and fall internships are available.

Action: Visit the About TCG section of the website for more detailed information. To apply, email your résumé and a cover letter indicating primary area of interest to Jen Cleary.

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Club Quarters: A Benefit for TCG Member Theatres, Affiliates and Individual Members

Club Quarters are private, full service hotels exclusively for member organizations; they offer unique, user-friendly services designed for both business and leisure. Club Quarters have rooms of various sizes for long or short stays and each location has a restaurant and bar, club room, fitness facility and meeting space accommodating up to 250 people.

TCG is a member of Club Quarters, and TCG member theatres, affiliates and individual members can pay low rates for quality hotel rooms in eleven prime urban locations, such as New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington DC, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston and London.

Action: Visit the Club Quarters website or call Club Quarters Member Services at 212-575-0006 to make reservations or for more information. Your password is TCG.

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