Top Tips for Musical Theatre Grant Applicants

Notes from a grant writing workshop for Musical Theatre, hosted by Margo Charlton from Toronto Arts Council and Mitchell Marcus from Acting Up Stage.

Top Tips for Musical Theatre Grant Applicants:

  1. Help the jury see the similarities between your application and other theatre applications. Make the music an asset. Stress the interdisciplinary nature of musical theatre and how music contributes to the telling of the story. How would you explain the music in a similar way to talking about design elements?
  2. Musical theatre is frequently seen as commercial but we need arts council support to develop new work. Point out that Canadian theatre has had over 40 years of support to develop home-grown theatre scene. Musical theatre needs to be supported in order to develop our local writers, composers, performers and musicians. Understand that the quality of our new work may not be as polished as the quality of non-musical new work. Know your strengths and weaknesses and be clear on what you need for your process.
  3. Musical theatre is an American-born genre. The grant is being assessed along with new Canadian work. If you are producing an American musical, explain why you have chosen the piece, how it will contribute to the development of the artists involved, and how it is relevant to our Canadian context. When writing about an American musical, do not assume the grant review panel will know the names of significant American musical theatre artists.
  4. See as much theatre as possible in Toronto in order to better understand the changing nature of the theatre scene. Understand the context within which you are applying for a grant. All jurors might not be familiar with musical theatre. Find the common ground between musical theatre and theatre. In your application, speak about collaboration, interdisciplinary work, and the way that music is a tool to express drama.