University of Southern California


NEA Grants for the Arts – Theater

Slots:                                        1 slot across all sub-categories listed. Exceptions to the one-application rule are made only for:

A parent organization should consult with our staff to verify the eligibility of its component before preparing an application.

Internal Deadline:                     Contact the OOR if interested.

LOI:                                                 N/A

External Deadline:                    July 9, 2020

Award Information:                  Type: Grant

Budgetary Requirements:                                      

Our grants cannot exceed 50% of the total cost of the project. All grants require a nonfederal cost share/match of at least 1 to 1. For example, if an organization receives a $10,000 grant, the total eligible project costs must be at least $20,000 and the organization must provide at least $10,000 toward the project from nonfederal sources.


Grants generally will range from $10,000 to $100,000. No grant will be made below $10,000. Grants of $100,000 or more will be made only in rare instances, and only for projects that we determine demonstrate exceptional national or regional significance and impact.


In developing an application, we urge all applicants to consider the level of recent awards and to request a realistic grant amount. Applicants should review the lists of grants on our website to see recent grant award levels and project types. In the past few years, well over half of the agency’s grants have been for amounts less than $25,000.

Submission Process:                     PIs must submit their application as a Limited Submission through the Office of Research Application Portal:


Materials to submit:

Link to Award:          

Who May Serve as PI:               Nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3), U.S. organizations; units of state or local government; or federally recognized tribal communities or tribes may apply. Applicants may be arts organizations, local arts agencies, arts service organizations, local education agencies (school districts), and other organizations that can help advance the goals of the National Endowment for the Arts.


The National Endowment for the Arts awards grants to the nonprofit theater field for the production or presentation of traditional or classical repertoire, new plays, development laboratories, showcases, artist residencies, work for young audiences, experimental work, community-based work, outdoor historical dramas, and puppetry. Projects funded by the National Endowment for the Arts should help to fully realize an organization’s mission and may provide support for organizations and artists in the creation and refinement of work, the public presentation of plays from all cultures and periods, and opportunities for professional development.


While we welcome applications for a variety of artistically excellent projects, we encourage projects that address any of the following activities below:

  1. Celebrate America’s creativity and/or cultural heritage.
  2. Invite a dialogue that fosters a mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all persons and groups.
  3. Enrich our humanity by broadening our understanding of ourselves as individuals and as a society.


Project Types


Visit our Institutionally Limited Submission webpage for updates and other announcements.