Assisting Artists in a Crisis

The Theatre Community Benevolent Fund (TCBF) provides financial relief in a confidential, respectful manner to individual theatre practitioners and non-profit theatre organizations of Greater Boston and the surrounding areas who are facing occurrences of a catastrophic nature including but not limited to extreme illness, devastating acts of nature, housing emergencies, vandalism, and theft, and who have limited or no resources with which to handle such events. TCBF recognizes the essential value of artists and arts organizations to society, and treats all applicants with dignity, discretion, and compassion.

As area theatres are forced to make drastic decisions about keeping their doors open during the public health crisis of COVID-19, thousands of area artists and technicians are finding themselves out of work. With uncertainty around which organizations will bounce back or when, independent contractors are seeing contracts pulled or postponed indefinitely, leaving people with no income stream for the foreseeable future. Some will be eligible for unemployment but many will not. “The Theatre Community Benevolent Fund is a life preserver for area theatre professionals. In this time of unprecedented uncertainty yielding certain financial peril, TCBF will help people put food on their tables, pay their rent, or take care of other unforeseen expenses like medical bills and increased child care costs. TCBF is a vital part of the economic stability and recovery of the arts sector during a crisis like this,” says Dawn M. Simmons, Executive Director of StageSource.

“The Boston Theater Marathon has supported the TCBF for over 20 years, and this Fund is a vitally important resource for our community. Even though the BTM will not be performed in April, we’re still thinking of ways to support our playwrights, directors, actors, and theatre companies. The TCBF is the one place in the Boston area where artists can go for help, and we have committed to giving this year’s estimated proceeds from the BTM to the Fund. It’s clear that now is the time we all need it most. I urge
everyone to do the same!” Kate Snodgrass, Artistic Director, Boston Theater Marathon

“Acknowledging the high potential of unexpected need within Boston’s theatre community during these unprecedented times, TCBF will begin to review all COVID-19-related applications to the Fund on a weekly basis. Applicants should expect a delay in response of at least five business days. TCBF will only accept one application per person/theatre company that is directly related to COVID-19 and plans to set caps on these funding requests, amounts to be announced. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. The Intent To Apply form can be found on TCBF’s website. The form is the same one used for normal applications, but please indicate the application is related to COVID-19. We will continue to accept applications not related to COVID-19 during this time,” stated Amy Spalletta, Board President, representing the TCBF Board.

About TCBF
In the Fall of 1997, a Boston-area theatre artist became ill with a life-threatening condition. The theatre community decided to throw a party in order to raise funds to help with medical expenses. The Big Easy nightclub opened its doors free of charge for this event, and actors, producers, writers, designers, directors, and managers all donated their time, money, and expertise. The party was an unqualified success. Out of that experience arose the idea to create an organization to aid members of our theatre community who are in dire need and do not have the financial resources to meet those needs. That organization is the Theatre Community Benevolent Fund.

The first substantial contributor to TCBF was the Boston Theater Marathon, established in 1999 by Kate Snodgrass, Artistic Director of Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, for the dual purpose of promoting the area’s wealth of playwrights and of contributing to the Fund. In subsequent years, theatres throughout the region have participated in fund drives for the organization, raising tens of thousands of dollars and helping to make it possible for TCBF to provide over $145,000 in grants over the years.

About StageSource
StageSource provides leadership and services to advance the art of theatre in the Greater Boston and New England region. Our mission is to unite theatre artists, theatre companies, and related organizations in vision and goals that inspire and empower our community to realize its greatest artistic potential.

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COVID-19 Resources

We have added a list of a variety of resources to help theater artists weather COVID-19 shutdowns and cancelations. Please check them out- you can find the link in the page header.

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Donate While You Shop!

Spread even more joy this holiday season or anytime you shop via Amazon Smile

Did you know that a small percentage of your Amazon purchases can be donated to TCBF? All you have to do is join Amazon Smile, choose TCBF as your charity and make all of your purchases through the Amazon Smile website.

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2019 Boston Theater Marathon A Success

Once again, the theater community came together to support our theaters, artists and TCBF by participating in and attending the Boston Theater Marathon XXI (BTM). Evening attendance was down from last year due to a certain series finale but a good time was still had by all.

We can’t possibly thank Kate Snodgrass and the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre (BPT) enough for producing the Marathon each year. The BPT panel reviews submissions of over 400 new scripts each year and pares that number down to 50 for the Marathon. We also noticed increased visibility this year regarding advertising about the Marathon and support of TCBF by the BPT. And thanks to those patrons who also stopped by to make donations at the TCBF table throughout the day. Congratulations and much appreciation to all involved: we look forward to seeing all of the exciting new works in 2020!

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Our Main Fundraiser: the Boston Theater Marathon!

TCBF’s main fundraiser is the Boston Theater Marathon, which takes place  from noon until 10 p.m., at the Calderwood Pavilion Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 427 Tremont Street.  The Marathon features productions of plays by fifty New England writers, produced by fifty different theatre companies.  There’s no better way to see a cross section of the immense pool of talent that makes up the New England theatre community than attending the Boston Theater Marathon.

And the net proceeds for the event go to the Theatre Community Benevolent Fund.  That’s right, for $25 you can watch TEN HOURS of new plays, five (or more) new plays every hour, and a portion of that money helps fund TCBF’s financial support of theatre artists  suffering from catastrophe.

You can stay for an hour or try to last the whole day. You’ll not only have a good time, you’ll also do some good.  That’s a tough deal to beat.

The Boston Theatre Marathon XXIII: Zoom Edition will take place on April 1 – May 28, 2021. Click here for additional info.

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The basics

The Theatre Community Benevolent Fund (TCBF) is a non-profit theatre community organization administered by StageSource for the benefit of its individual and organizational members and the theatre artists who are or have been employed by those organizations who face dire need and require financial assistance. TCBF provides financial relief in a confidential, respectful manner to individual and organizations facing extreme illness, catastrophic acts of nature, and other events such as vandalism/theft, and who have limited or no resources with which to handle such occurrences.

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