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Wednesday, November 5, 2008                                


Santa Fe, N.M. - Theater Grottesco has received a $50,000 grant from Theatre Communications Group (TCG) and MetLife for the MetLife/TCG A-ha! Program:  Think it, Do It.   The program was designed to foster creative thinking and action among TCG member theatres.

The A-ha! Program awards $25,000 Think It grants to give theatre professionals the time and space for research and development; and $50,000 Do It grants to support the implementation and testing of new ideas.  The program supports risk-taking, reflection, experimentation and the development of creative strategies.  It is hoped that the larger field will benefit from new practices that emerge from the program.

"We are thrilled to receive this award from MetLife Foundation and TCG," says John Flax, executive director of Theater Grottesco.  "These funds allow us to partner with other non-profit performing arts groups in Santa Fe to create a much needed state-of-the-art, intimate venue in downtown Santa Fe." 

"To receive this huge honor on the occasion of our 25th Anniversary is wonderful," adds Flax.  "The icing on the cake is that only four awards were given out from more than 140 applicants."

Theater Grottesco, a cutting-edge physical theater ensemble, will invite partners to invest in downtown Santa Fe property through a new Limited Liability Corporation. Funds from the A-ha! grant will be used to develop materials to begin the process of attracting partners.  Businesses and individuals will be invited to sponsor the space and can select the organization of their choice in a traditional manner; but in this case, the money will be restricted to the purchase of shares in the venue. This concept allows shareholders the opportunity to participate in the creation of a new Santa Fe Cultural asset as an investment, instead of as a donation, and will broaden the base of support so that smaller performance groups working in collaboration can create a venue for their needs.

Theater Grottesco will have an agreement with the LLC to manage and curate the space.  Shares will be sold for as little as $1,000 each, broadening participation and a sense of ownership. 

Four grants were awarded from approximately 140 applications: two awards in the Think It category and two in the larger Do It category. The Do It recipients are Theater Grottesco, in Santa Fe, NM and The Playwrights' Center (TPC), Inc in Minneapolis, MN, with alternate status awarded to American Repertory Theatre Company in Cambridge, MA. The Think It recipients are Mo'olelo Performing Arts Company in San Diego, CA and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., with alternate status awarded to Round House Theatre in Bethesda, MD and Dell'Arte International in Blue Lake, CA.

Panel members were Michael Johnson-Chase, Consultant, GlobalHamlet Consulting (New York); Jason Neulander, Founder Artistic Director emeritus, Salvage Vanguard Theater (Austin); Victoria Nolan, deputy Dean of Yale School of Drama and Managing Director of Yale Repertory Theatre (New Haven); Brad Stephenson, Director of Projects and Marketing, Center for Arts Management and Technology; Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh) and Mark Valdez, National Coordinator, Network of Ensemble Theaters (New York.)

MetLife Foundation was established by MetLife to continue the company's long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. The Foundation supports programs that improve education, promote health, encourage parental involvement and family engagement, and help revitalize neighborhoods and stress accessibility and inclusion. In recent years, a focus on Alzheimer's and aging issues has been added.  MetLife Foundation stresses education in all its programs. Recognizing the vital role the arts play in building communities and educating young people, the Foundation contributes to arts and cultural organizations across the United States, with an emphasis on increasing opportunities for young people, reaching broad audiences through inclusive programming, and making arts more accessible for all people.

Theatre Communications Group's (TCG) mission is to strengthen, nurture and promote the professional, not-for-profit American theatre. TCG initiatives include a variety of artistic, management, international and advocacy programs. Its many publications offer a national resource for reference, opinion and debate on theatre and the performing arts today.

Jennifer Marshall