SAN FRANCISCO and MENLO PARK, Calif.— The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation are pleased to announce a $300,000 fund for the creation and production of new theater works by California playwrights. The works are to be commissioned and premiered by Bay Area nonprofit arts organizations that can apply for grants of $50,000 each.

These grants will support projects that accelerate the creative endeavors and advancement of gifted California playwrights. The resulting works will have their world premieres in Bay Area public performances between December 2016 and June 2018.

Proposed commissions in all theater forms will be considered. Applicant organizations must be nonprofit and based in the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, or Sonoma.

These theater awards are part of a three-year $900,000 initiative by the Gerbode and Hewlett foundations to support the commissioning of individual artists and to invest in their creative vision. Music will be supported in 2016.

“Nearly 30 years after our first round of supporting new theater productions in 1987, we continue our support for playwrights and the Bay Area’s dynamic theater scene,” said Stacie Ma’a, president of the Gerbode Foundation. “Our partnership with the Hewlett Foundation represents our commitment to and acknowledgement of some of California’s most important voices and the Bay Area organizations that recognize and support these writers.”

John E. McGuirk, director of the Hewlett Foundation’s Performing Arts Program, added, “We are pleased to join with the Gerbode Foundation to support California’s talented playwrights in the creative process and spur partnerships with local performing arts organizations to showcase new works. We hope these awards will bring even greater vitality to our region’s performing arts and enrich the lives of our diverse communities.”

Applications for the 2015 Theater Commissioning Awards are available online at Completed applications must be submitted to the Gerbode Foundation no later than 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 20, 2015. An advisory panel of theater experts from across the United States will review all the proposals, and final selections will be made by the Gerbode Foundation. Grantees will be announced in January 2016.

For questions regarding the program guidelines and application, please contact the Gerbode Foundation’s Manager of Special Awards, Olivia Malabuyo Tablante (77 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 200, San Francisco, CA 94102; 415-391-0911;

About The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation

The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation is interested in programs and projects offering potential for significant impact. The primary geographical focus is on the San Francisco Bay Area and Hawaii. The Foundation’s interests generally fall under the categories of arts and culture, environment, population, reproductive rights, citizen participation, building communities, inclusiveness, strength of the philanthropic process and the nonprofit sector, and Foundation-initiated special projects.

About the Special Awards in the Arts Program

For more than twenty-five years, the Gerbode Foundation has made innovative grants through its Special Awards Program to Bay Area arts institutions to commission new works from choreographers, playwrights, and composers. The Special Awards Program has also supported visual artists, poets, and multimedia artists.

In a time of cultural shifts and fiscal insecurity in the arts, these coveted, nationally respected awards have helped underwrite culturally and aesthetically diverse, acclaimed new works by prominent artists and emerging ones. These grants have supported artists at critical junctures in their careers; enabled nonprofit local arts groups to develop and debut substantial, original works; and enriched Bay Area audiences, readers, and viewers by giving them first access to ambitious new creations.

About The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation helps people build measurably better lives, concentrating its resources on activities in education, the environment, global development and population, performing arts, and philanthropy, as well as grants to support disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. On the web:

The foundation’s Performing Arts Program is founded on the premise that the experience, understanding, and appreciation of artistic expression give value, meaning, and enjoyment to people’s lives. Its goal is to ensure continuity and innovation in the performing arts through the creation, performance, and appreciation of exceptional works that enrich the lives of individuals and benefit communities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. It currently supports artistic expression and its enjoyment through grantmaking to a wide range of over 200 Bay Area arts organizations.

Contact: Stacie Ma’a, President, Gerbode Foundation, 415-391-0911,
John E. McGuirk, Director, Performing Arts Program, Hewlett Foundation, 650-234-4500,

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