Blog Post

Sharing the Spotlight: Nonprofits for American Theaters

Published July 21, 2023 | by Groundswell | 11 mins read
American theaters nonprofits to support

American Theaters that offer live performances have been facing difficult times recently.

Despite the decline in the pandemic, several local theaters and independent art groups are still struggling to secure funding. Unfortunately, this has resulted in a drop in attendance, with numbers still below pre-pandemic levels.

Consequently, many theaters nationwide have had to cancel festivals, reducing performances and staff. This pandemic has only worsened already struggling theater groups. Although some theaters have managed to raise funds, many others still struggle to keep their shows running. While some are advocating for government intervention, donor support is crucial.

Consider supporting one of these organizations to help the arts.

Control Group Productions

Control Group Productions (CGP) is a Denver-based nonprofit organization dedicated to experimental and interdisciplinary performance and art. They focus on creating immersive experiences and exploring the boundaries of traditional performance forms.

CGP was founded by Patrick Mueller and Bailey Harper in 2008. Since then, it has become known for its innovative approach to live performance, combining dance, theater, music, and visual arts elements. The group often collaborates with artists from various disciplines to produce unique and thought-provoking works.

One of the key aspects of Control Group Productions is its site-specific performance. Instead of traditional theater spaces, CGP stages its productions in non-traditional venues like parks, abandoned buildings, warehouses, or other public areas. This approach adds an extra layer of engagement for the audience and challenges artists to work with the specific characteristics of each location.

The themes explored in CGP’s performances often revolve around contemporary social issues, personal introspection, and the relationship between individuals and their environment. They use movement, storytelling, multimedia, and technology to create immersive experiences that stimulate the senses and provoke deep reflections.

Control Group Productions has also been involved in community outreach and education initiatives. They offer workshops, classes, and other educational programs to promote the arts and creativity within the local community.

Center Theater Group

Center Theatre Group (CTG) is a prominent non-profit theater organization in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1967, it has become one of the most influential and respected theater companies in the United States. CTG’s mission is to enrich, entertain, and transform the cultural landscape of Los Angeles through the power of live theater.

Here are some key points about Center Theatre Group:

  • Venues: CTG operates three significant venues in the Los Angeles area: the Ahmanson Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum, and the Kirk Douglas Theatre. These theaters host various productions, from classic plays and musicals to new and experimental works.
  • Diverse Programming: Center Theatre Group offers a varied and eclectic mix of productions, representing a variety of genres, styles, and cultural perspectives. They present classic and contemporary plays, world premieres, and shows from renowned playwrights and emerging artists.
  • Educational Programs: CTG is committed to theater education and community engagement. They offer educational programs that aim to introduce young people to the theater, inspire creativity, and provide opportunities for students to participate in the performing arts.
  • New Play Development: The organization is dedicated to supporting new works and fostering the development of emerging playwrights. Center Theatre Group has developed numerous world premiere productions over the years.
  • Collaborations: CTG collaborates with various local and national theater companies, artists, and institutions to bring diverse voices and perspectives to the stage.
  • Awards and Recognition: Center Theatre Group has received numerous awards and accolades for its contributions to the arts and the cultural life of Los Angeles. They have been recognized for their artistic excellence, innovative productions, and commitment to community engagement.

Broadway Advocacy Coalition

The Broadway Advocacy Coalition (BAC) is a non-profit organization established in 2016. Its primary goal is to bring about social change by merging arts, advocacy, and activism. BAC is based in New York City and is well-known in the Broadway community.

This coalition was formed due to lacking diversity and representation in the theater industry and the broader performing arts community. It strives to address racial justice, social justice, and inclusion within the theater world.

BAC works with artists, activists, and legal experts to support initiatives that promote racial equity and social justice on and off the stage. The organization utilizes its platform to raise awareness of important causes, create spaces for dialogue, and engage in community organizing efforts.

One of BAC’s most notable initiatives is the “Town Halls” they organize. These gatherings provide open discussions and collective problem-solving on various social issues such as racial discrimination, inequality, and systemic injustices.

The coalition also provides resources, training, and support for artists and creative professionals, empowering them to use their art as a tool for advocacy and positive change. By leveraging the power of storytelling and performance, BAC seeks to address pressing social issues and create a more inclusive and equitable future for the performing arts community.

Here are the campaigns BAC is responsible for:

  • Creating social change through the intersection of arts, advocacy, and activism.
  • Addressing racial justice, social justice, and inclusion issues within the theater industry and the performing arts community.
  • Collaborating with artists, activists, and legal experts to support initiatives that advance racial equity and social justice.
  • Organizing “Town Halls” to provide spaces for open discussions and collective problem-solving on various social issues.
  • Engaging in community organizing efforts to promote positive change.
  • Providing resources, training, and support for artists and creative professionals to use their art as a tool for advocacy and social impact.

Black Ensemble Theater

The Black Ensemble Theater promotes diversity and inclusion in the performing arts. Here are some essential facts about this organization:

  • Mission: BET aims to utilize theater arts to eradicate racism and its adverse effects. They strive to provide positive, high-quality, and transformative theatrical experiences that reflect African Americans’ rich history, heritage, and contributions to society.
  • Productions: BET produces a variety of original and classic theatrical works, including musicals, dramas, comedies, and biographical productions that highlight influential African-American figures.
  • Founder and Leadership: Jackie Taylor, the founder of BET, has been instrumental in the theater’s success. Her artistic vision and commitment to telling diverse stories have helped shape the company’s identity.
  • Community Engagement: BET actively engages with the local community, particularly youth and aspiring artists, through educational and outreach programs. They offer workshops, classes, and opportunities for young people to explore the performing arts and develop their talents.
  • Awards and Recognition: BET has received numerous awards and honors for its contributions to African-American theater and its impact on the Chicago arts scene.
  • New Works: BET is a platform for developing and premiering new works by African-American playwrights and composers, contributing to the growth and diversification of American theater.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: BET is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the performing arts.

Northern Stage

Northern Stage is a non-profit regional theater company based in White River Junction, Vermont. It was founded in 1997 to produce high-quality professional theater and foster a local community’s love for the performing arts.

Here are some key points about Northern Stage:

  • Work: Northern Stage produces a diverse range of theatrical productions, including classic plays, contemporary pieces, musicals, and world premieres. They aim to present compelling stories that entertain, inspire, and provoke thought.
  • Community: The theater is deeply committed to community engagement and educational outreach. They offer educational programs, workshops, and opportunities for students and community members to get involved in the performing arts.
  • New Works Development: Northern Stage has been actively developing new works, collaborating with playwrights and composers to bring fresh and original stories to the stage.
  • Venue: The main stage of Northern Stage is located at the Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction, Vermont. The center houses a 240-seat theater and other performance spaces.
  • Collaborations: Northern Stage often collaborates with other arts organizations, educational institutions, and local community groups to enrich the region’s cultural life.
  • Artistic Leadership: Northern Stage has had various artistic directors and leadership teams, each contributing to the theater’s creative vision and programming.
  • Recognition: Northern Stage has received critical acclaim and awards for its productions and contributions to the arts in Vermont and the surrounding areas.

Entertainment Community Fund

The Entertainment Community Fund (ECF) is a human services organization that caters to the specific needs of individuals working in performing arts and entertainment across the nation.

Established in 1882 as the Actors Fund of America, it underwent a name change in 2020 to reflect its extended scope and objective. Throughout the years, the ECF has assisted countless individuals in the entertainment industry and remains a crucial support system for those working in the arts.

The ECF provides a wide range of services, including:

  • Emergency financial assistance: The ECF provides financial aid to people struggling to pay for necessities, such as rent, food, and medical care.
  • Affordable housing: The ECF helps people find and maintain affordable housing. It also provides supportive services, such as case management and counseling, to help people stay housed.
  • Health care and insurance counseling: The ECF provides health care and insurance counseling to people in the entertainment industry. It also helps people access affordable health care.
  • Career development and management: The ECF provides career development and management services to people in the entertainment industry. These services can help people find jobs, develop their skills, and manage their careers.
  • Senior care: The ECF provides senior care services to people in the entertainment industry. These services can help people find and maintain quality care and connect with other seniors in the industry.
  • And more: The ECF also provides various other services, such as counseling, legal assistance, and substance abuse treatment.

Pablo Center

the Pablo Center at the Confluence is a non-profit arts center in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA. The center promotes and fosters the region’s arts, culture, and creativity by providing a venue for various artistic and cultural events.

Here are some key points about the Pablo Center:

  • Origin: The Pablo Center was a collaborative effort between the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the Eau Claire Regional Arts Council, and other community partners. It was established to meet the growing demand for a modern and versatile arts space in the Chippewa Valley region.
  • Facilities: The Pablo Center features state-of-the-art facilities, including a 1,200-seat theatre, a flexible 400-seat theatre, galleries, rehearsal spaces, classrooms, and event spaces. These spaces accommodate various performances, events, and artistic activities.
  • Programming: The center hosts a diverse array of performances and events, including theater productions, musical concerts, dance performances, visual arts exhibitions, lectures, workshops, and community gatherings. The programming aims to showcase local, regional, and national talent.
  • Community Engagement: The Pablo Center actively engages with the local community by offering educational and outreach programs, workshops, and opportunities for artists and performers to interact with audiences and share their work.
  • Non-Profit Status: As a non-profit organization, the Pablo Center relies on community support, sponsorships, grants, and donations to sustain its operations and fulfill its mission of enriching the cultural life of the Chippewa Valley region.
  • Impact: Since opening in 2018, the Pablo Center has become a vibrant cultural hub, attracting residents and visitors to experience and participate in the arts.


IndieSpace is a non-profit organization promoting independent theater-making in New York City. It offers transparent, responsive, and equitable funding, real estate programs, professional development opportunities, and advocacy for individual artists, theater companies, and indie venues.

IndieSpace was established in 2015 by independent theater artists concerned about the lack of resources and support available for independent theater in New York City. The organization strives to strengthen the indie theater community by challenging ongoing displacement, promoting democratic power, advocating for social and financial equity, and speaking up for the authentic indie voice.

IndieSpace offers a variety of programs and services to support independent theater-makers, including:

  • Funding: IndieSpace provides grants to individual artists, theater companies, and indie venues. These grants can be used for various purposes, such as production costs, artist fees, and marketing.
  • Real estate programs: IndieSpace helps independent theater makers find affordable rehearsal and performance space. It also advocates for policies that will protect the spaces that independent theater-makers rely on.
  • Professional development: IndieSpace offers workshops, training, and other professional development opportunities to independent theater-makers. These opportunities help artists develop their skills and knowledge and build relationships with other theater-makers.
  • Advocacy: IndieSpace advocates for policies that support independent theater-making. It works with government officials, community organizations, and other stakeholders to ensure that independent theater has a seat at the table.

Related resources

The Big Donation Distribution Problem You Don’t Know About cover
5 mins read
All Posts, Corporate Philanthropy, Featured

The Big Donation Distribution Problem You Don’t Know About

At Groundswell, we are passionate about challenging the status quo, and one industry standard that we’ve set our sights on is the unconscionable donation distribution delays normalized by legacy platforms like Benevity, Cybergrants, and YourCause. These companies, which currently service …

Read more
4 mins read
All Posts, Corporate Philanthropy

6 Tips For An Effective Corporate Volunteerism Program with Groundswell

For companies seeking to streamline their giving and volunteering in one place, Groundswell has a number of volunteer features designed to easily track, reward, and engage employees. We have been extremely thoughtful about the volunteerism features we’ve built – with …

Read more
1 min read
All Posts, Cause Spotlight

Help victims of Morocco’s deadly earthquake

What’s happening: Organizations helping victims of Morocco’s earthquake: Disaster response organizations are mobilizing quickly to support the immediate, life-saving relief efforts as well as longer-term recovery. The best way to support is to provide funding to one of the many nonprofits …

Read more