TCG Observership Program

The TCG Observership Program is on hiatus.  It may be returning at a future date, but is currently an inactive program.


The program provides opportunities for key staff at TCG's member theatres to observe the administration and artistic work of other theatres and meet with colleagues.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will the Observership Program fund international travel?

Yes, the program can fund international travel.

Can the Observership Program fund more than
one person?

Up to two staff members may travel together on the same Observership grant.

What are the per diem rates?

TCG follows the per diem rates set by the federal government. You may go to to locate the per diem rate for your destination.

Will my theatre be allowed to apply if we are not current on our dues payments?

Please check with your theatre to be sure that you are current on dues. You will not be eligible for the program if your theatre has not paid dues. For additional assistance contact TCG's Director of Membership Jennifer Cleary, 212-609-5900, ext. 222.

My theatre has experienced leadership changes since submitting this application. Are we still eligible?

It depends on the situation. Contact Mohammad Shatara at 212-609-5900, ext. 269, for more information.

How does the panel select recipients?

In reviewing the applications, the independent national panel will consider the following criteria:

  • Merit of the proposed travel and benefits for the initiating theatre and the individual
  • Ability to carry out the proposed travel
  • Financial need of the theatre

2009 Recipients

Christian Parker, associate artistic director and Laura Savia, literary associate of Atlantic Theater Company (New York, NY) will meet with artistic staff of ensemble-based companies in the Chicago area who have been in existence for longer than 20 years. They will also survey other new works in the area. With this trip, they hope to garner the insight and experience to ensure the vitality of Atlantic’s ensemble as a core component of the theatre’s identity as they enter a new phase of organizational growth.

Sarah Benvenuti, managing director, Curious Theatre Company (Denver, CO) will travel to Actors Theatre of Louisville (Louisville, KY) and Brooklyn Academy of Music (Brooklyn, NY). She will meet with key staff members to research alternative programming and how to maximize the success of such programs.

Dallas Theater Center (Dallas, TX) is moving into a new space, the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre in the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts. In order to learn from theatres that have gone through similar transitions, DTC artistic director Kevin Moriarty plans to visit several theatres in the Washington, DC area that have moved to new facilities within the last few years, including Arena Stage, Shakespeare Theatre, Signature Theatre and Wooly Mammoth Theatre Company.

Amy Hodgdon, director of education and programs, Philadelphia Young Playwrights (Philadelphia, PA) will investigate school-based programs at New York theatres: 52nd Street Project, MCC Theater and Roundabout Theatre Company. She seeks to learn new methodologies to enhance their school-based programming and Teaching Artist professional development opportunities. Philadelphia Young Playwrights’ mission is to tap the potential of youth and inspire learning through playwriting.

Larry Reed, artistic director, ShadowLight Productions (San Francisco, CA) will travel to China to meet visual artist Ma Liang (Shanghai) and Shanxi style shadow master, Wei Chao (Hangzhou). During his stay he will meet with their collaborators, observe their creative process and techniques, and develop jointly a foundation for a new shadow theatre work that highlights and integrates their distinct aesthetics.

Due to major growth in budget and audience, Writers’ Theatre (Glencoe, IL) is preparing to embark on a capital campaign to develop a new space that is more suitable for such growth. As part of their research and planning, general manager Jon Faris will visit three theatres that have been in similar situations: Hartford Stage Company (Hartford, CT), Portland Center Stage (Portland, OR) and Signature Theatre (Arlington, VA).


A national independent selection panel comprised of theatre professionals reviewed applications for the 2009 Observership Program. The selection panelists were:

Eve Loeb, development director, Alabama Shakespeare Festival (Montgomery, AL); Kevin Moore, managing director, Arizona Theatre Company (Tucson, AZ); Dana Munson, marketing director, The Jungle Theater (Minneapolis, MN); Amy Murphy, managing director, Arden Theatre Company (Philadelphia, PA); Aaron A. Young, managing director, Fulton Theatre (Lancaster, PA).


2008 Recipients

Melanie Joseph, producing artistic director of The Foundry Theatre (New York, NY) will travel to Sao Paulo, Brazil and visit Antonio Araujo and his company Teatro da Vertigem. While there, she will observe the company as they develop the material Mr. Araujo and Ms. Joseph created during his two-week residency at The Foundry in August 2007.

Imagination Stage (Bethesda, MD) artistic director Janet Stanford will visit two festivals in Denmark in order to learn about assessment tools, and utilize them at their 2010 Conference in Washington, DC. She will also discuss bringing the organizers to Imagination Stage to present their plays and for possible collaborations.

Marcella Kearns, education director at Milwaukee Shakespeare (Milwaukee, WI), will visit three theatres, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Georgia Shakespeare (Atlanta, GA) and the Alliance Theatre (Atlanta, GA). During her visits she will study models of education departments to compare teacher training on Shakespeare and collaborations with local educators on in-school instruction and curriculum.

New York Theatre Workshop manager of government & foundation relations Heather Cohn will visit two LEED-certified green theatres - Portland Center Stage (Portland, OR) and Theatrical Outfit  (Atlanta, GA) - in order to gain a deeper understanding of the process of building green, as well as what challenges and opportunities exist in terms of fundraising for green capital projects.

Northern Stage (White River Junction, VT) artistic director Brooke Ciardelli and producing director Catherine Doherty will visit approximately 10 theatres throughout the East Coast to view theatres that are similar to one they hope to build within the next few years. At each theatre, they will study physical layout, how technical needs are met, how seating is arranged, how administrative offices are laid out and what ancillary services are available.

Donald W. King, artistic and executive director, and Megan Sandberg-Zakian, associate director, of The Providence Black Repertory Company (Providence, RI) will travel to see a play they developed along with the Rites and Reason Theatre (Providence, RI), The Ballad of Emmett Till, to be produced by the Goodman Theatre (Chicago); as well as take inspiration from Chicago's other innovative theatres, and examine the factors that have made Chicago a "theatre destination.”



A national independent selection panel comprised of theatre professionals reviewed applications for the 2008 Observership Program. The selection panelists were Richard Garner, cofounder and producing artistic director, Georgia Shakespeare (Atlanta, GA); Jennie Greer, director of institutional advancement, New Dramatists (New York, NY); David Jobin, managing director, Magic Theatre (San Francisco, CA); Stacey Parshall, playwright and former director of Chicago Avenue Project (Los Angeles, CA); Eileen Suarez, managing director, New Theatre (Coral Gables, FL).


Recipients of the Observership Program, TCG's oldest grant and the only one funded solely by TCG, are given travel stipends up to $2,000 to travel across the country and internationally. The program provides opportunities for key staff at TCG's member theatres to observe the administration and artistic work of other theatres and meet with colleagues.