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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