The holiday season is in full swing. Although this week's sales and deals may tempt a shopping spree (including to the Playbill Store), following Cyber Monday comes Giving Tuesday, which encourages charity and generosity. Luckily, there are many not-for-profit theatre companies and charities that arts lovers can support.
For a little inspiration, we put together this list of just a small percentage of the incredible theatre organizations and companies seeking donations this year, from theatres that create ground-breaking new work to organizations that foster the next generation of artists. Considering that theatres across the country are in a state of crisis, supporting the arts is more important than ever.
Besides the companies in the list below, we also encourage you to look all around for the organizations that align most with what you love about theatre!
Support New Theatre Works and Aspiring Artists
Celebrating its 20th anniversary season, The Tank is one of New York downtown theatre's leading incubators of new, cutting-edge works. Their mission is to serve as a second home to emerging artists, whether they are launching their career or experimenting within the art form.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Playwrights Realm became a full-time playwrights service organization, making sure theatrical scribes get the support they need. Since making its return to producing this year, it has continued its revamped Realm Playwrights program, Aspiring Playwrights programming, and Script Share.
Springboard For the Arts
Based in St. Paul and Fergus Falls, Minnesota, Springboard for the Arts is a local not-for-profit dedicated to helping artists make a living and a life out of their artistic aspirations. In 2023 alone, they paid over $900,000 directly to artists.
One of the country's leading playwright centers, New Dramatists provides playwrights with the time, space, and resources they need to develop new works. Most notably, New Dramatists offers a seven year-long residency, where a playwright can program workshop of their plays-in-progress without worrying about how much it will cost.
The Alliance of Resident Theatres (A.R.T./New York)
A.R.T/New York assists over 400 member theatres in managing their companies so they can effectively and sustainably create art and serve their audiences. From shared office and rehearsal spaces to technical assistance programs for emerging theatres, A.R.T. serves as the heart of not-for-profit theatre in New York.
The Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center
Described as "the Launchpad of American Theatre," the Eugene O'Neill Center is one of the nation's foremost organizations dedicated to the development of new works. With numerous programs fostering new artistry, including the National Playwrights Conference and the National Critics Institute for arts journalists, the Eugene O'Neill center makes an immeasurable impact on the future of the American theatre.
The Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation
SDC is a theatrical union representing over 4,000 professional stage directors and choreographers throughout the United States. The SDC Foundation supports current stage directors and choreographers through fellowships and grants, they also foster the next generation through their professional development program.
The Dramatists Guild Foundation
For over 50 years, the Dramatists Guild Foundation has supported playwrights, composers, lyricists, and book writers. With their Roe Green Visiting Voices program, DGF provides free writing classes and workshops around the country. With their fellowships, up-and-coming writers gain professional experience and forge relationships with seasoned mentors. DGF's Music Hall provides free space and equipment for writing. And their grants fund writers and their projects.
Black Theatre Coalition
The Black Theatre Coalition's mission aims to remove the illusion of inclusion in the American theatre, by building a sustainable, ethical roadmap that will increase employment opportunities for emerging, mid-career, and career-changing Black theatre professionals.
The Autistic Theatremakers Alliance
Founded just this year, the Autistic Theatremakers Alliance is a not-for-profit dedicated to uniting autistic theatre artists to foster connections throughout the theatre community, offer support, reduce stigma, and increase inclusion.
Broadway Advocacy Coalition
Founded in 2016 by members of the Broadway community in response to the nation's pandemic of racism and police brutality, The Broadway Advocacy Coalition unites artists, experts, students, and community leaders to use storytelling and artistry to combat systemic racism.
Ring of Keys
This organization was created because although there are many gay spaces in theatre, there are less broadly queer spaces. Ring of Keys fosters community and visibility for artists who self-identify as lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer, femme, masc, non-binary, and all along the gender and sexuality spectrum.
New Native Theater
Based in St. Paul, Minnesota, New Native Theater was founded by playwright Rhiana Yazzie and is dedicated to producing, commissioning, and devising authentic Native American stories for the stage.
For over 40 years, the Off-Broadway WP Theater has focused on supporting the works of women+ artists, fostering new works, and encouraging artists to challenge preconceptions about the kinds of plays they can write.
Breaking the Binary
Breaking the Binary is a new-work development and community building hub for transgender, non-binary, and Two-Spirit+ (TNB2S+) artists.
The National Black Theatre
Founded in 1968, The National Black Theatre became the country's first revenue-generating Black arts complex, and remains the longest-running Black theatre in New York City today. Today, their mission remains the same: to produce transformative theatre that enhances African American cultural identity by telling authentic, autonomous, multifaceted stories of the Black experience.
Broadway Women's Alliance
Dedicated to fostering community for women in theatre, the Broadway Women's Alliance is a peer-to-peer networking and programming organization for women on the business side of Broadway. Membership is free, and a wide array of events are hosted and opportunities are offered throughout the year to empower and unify women-identifying professionals.
Deaf West Theatre
The Los Angeles-based Deaf West serves as the artistic bridge between the Deaf and hearing worlds by engaging artists and audiences in innovative theatre and media experiences, inspired by Deaf culture and the expressive power of sign language.
The Ma-Yi Theater Company
Off-Broadway's Ma-Yi Theater is the nation's leading incubator of Asian American plays, and is supports new works by Asian voices (especially with their Writers Lab).
Broadway Bridges seeks to give every single New York City public school student the opportunity to see a Broadway show before they graduate. They provide schools the opportunity to purchase Broadway tickets at just $10 each.
Theatre Development Fund
TDF is one of the theatre industry's leading not-for-profits with a focus on accessibility; offering numerous discount ticket initiatives, assisting theatre patrons with finding accessible seating or audio description/open captioning/sign language interpretation performances, fostering school and community programs, and pioneering Broadway's autism-friendly performances.
Support Multiple Initiatives With One Donation
The following theatre not-for-profit organizations have multiple initiatives and programs to support the arts.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
Broadway Cares is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, not-for-profit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources, and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 Broadway Cares has raised more than $300 million for essential services for people with HIV/AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States. Though they are best known for those efforts, they have numerous other initiatives, including education outreach, responding to crises like the Maui wildfire, and more.
The Entertainment Community Fund
Formerly known as The Actors Fund, the 141-year-old organization's new name reflects their mission to serve everyone working in entertainment—not just performers. With that, they have a number of important initiatives to support arts workers, including health and wellness services, career enrichment, social services and financial assistance, affordable housing, and more.
American Theatre Wing
Though they are best known for being behind Broadway's annual Tony Awards, as well as the Obie Awards, the American Theatre Wing also provides crucial assistance to artists, investing in new work through financial initiatives, educational outreach, grants for writers and theatre companies, scholarships for professionals, and educational programs to foster a love of theatre in young people.
Support Local Theatre
Besides the organizations listed above, consider supporting your local theatre which ensures that there's inspiring productions near you. Here are just a few examples out of the hundreds across the country. We encourage you to explore who's producing theatre in your town and, especially, to go see a local show!
Off-Broadway/NYC: Tectonic Theatre Project, Playwrights Horizons, New York Theatre Workshop, Soho Rep. Regional: Baltimore Center Stage, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Center Theatre Group, Steppenwolf Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival.