Theatre Communications Group
Theatre Communications Group (TCG) is a non-profit service organization dedicated to nurturing, strengthening and promoting professional non-profit theatre in the United States. As of 2014, TCG has over 700 member theatres located in 47 states; 172,000 individual members; and 150 University, Trustee and other business affiliates. TCG is currently headquartered at 520 Eighth Avenue in mid-town Manhattan.
TCG offers training, networking and research opportunities to its members, including their annual Fiscal Survey and the resulting publication, the TCG TheatreFacts Report. In addition, TCG awards over $2 million in grants each year to nonprofit theatres and individual theatre artists through philanthropic partnerships, including the MetLife/TCG A-ha! Program.
Each year, the organization hosts a number of events for its members on special topics in the nonprofit theatrical industry, including the Fall Forum for Governance in New York City  and the annual TCG National Conference, held in a different American city each year.
The organization also publishes American Theatre magazine and ARTSEARCH, a theatrical employment bulletin, as well as trade editions of play scripts, including ten winners of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Theatre Communications Group was established in 1961 with a grant from the Ford Foundation in response to their then arts and humanities director W. McNeil Lowry’s desire to foster communication and cooperation among the growing community of regional theatres throughout the country. Though initially run as a Ford Foundation administered program, TCG independently incorporated in 1964.
The organization began with a membership of 15 regional and community theatres, and nine university drama departments under the leadership of Pat Brown. In its first decade of operation, other leaders included Michael Mabry, Joseph Zeigler and Hartney Arthur. In 1972, Peter Zeisler was named Executive Director, a position he would hold for 23 years. Under Zeisler’s leadership, TCG created many of its longest-running programs, including annual National Conference, American Theatre Magazine and TCG Books.
After Zeisler retired in 1995, the organization was lead, respectively, by John Sullivan, (1993-1997)  Ben Cameron (1996-2006), and Joan Channick (1999-2006). Under the leadership of Cameron and Channick, TCG was named the United States Center for the International Theater Institute in 1999  and Tony Honors for Excellence in 2005.
Teresa Eyring began her tenure as Executive Director of the organization in 2007, and continues in this position today.
Theatre Communications Group offers three forms of membership: theatre, individual, and affiliate.
To be eligible for a TCG theatre membership, a theatre must be a nonprofit organization with Federal tax-exempt status and fulfill the following standards of professionalism, as defined by TCG:
- Minimum operating budget of $50,000 is the most recent fiscal year.
- Paid professional leadership
- Artist payroll of at least 15 weeks or 50 performances
- Minimum cumulative rehearsal time of 30 hours per individual production.
- One year of continuous operation as a distinct organization.
- Recognized community impact.
- Demonstrated diversity in funding sources.
- Actor compensation of Actors’ Equity minimum or at least 20% of the organization’s total operating budget.
TCG member theatres are subdivided into six groups, according to annual operating budget size:
- Group 1 ($499,999 or less)
- Group 2 ($500,000 to $999,999)
- Group 3 ($1,000,000 to $2,999,999)
- Group 4 ($3,000,000 to $4,999,999)
- Group 5 ($5,000,000 to $9,999,999)
- Group 6 ($10,000,000 and above)
Budget groups are used to determine Member theatres annual TCG Membership dues and in industry research conducted by the organization.
Benefits for member theatres include invitations to TCG industry events, including the TCG National conference; eligibility for all TCG grant programs; participation in and access to all TCG-lead research, including the annual TheatreFacts report; discounts on listings in TCG publications, including American Theatre and ARTSEARCH; and special access to TCG staff and facilities, among others.
Individual membership to Theatre Communications Group is open to all interested parties and can be obtained through an annual membership fee. Individual member benefits include subscriptions to American Theatre Magazine and IM Wire, a bimonthly e-newsletter; discounts on TCG publications, including TCG Books and ARTSEARCH; and access to ticket discounts at TCG member theatres.
Affiliate membership to Theatre Communications Group is available in the following forms: business affiliates, funder affiliates, university affiliates, not-for-profit affiliates, international affiliates, and trustee affiliates. Benefits for affiliate members include access to Theatre Communication Groups individual members and member theatres in the form of networking and advertising opportunities; and access to TCG publications, research data, and selected services.
Services and events
Theatre Communications Group primary activities include providing networking opportunities for members; conducting field research and publishing findings on the American not-profit-theatre industry; coordinating professional development; organization and individual grantmaking; and industry advocacy. Research activities, which are conducted among member theatres, include an annual fiscal survey and a publishing of findings in TheatreFacts, an annual staff salary survey; and periodic education and governance surveys.
Annual grantmaking activities, conducted in conjunction with foundation partners, include the New Generations program, supporting mentorship of international theatre professionals and artists; The Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowships; the MetLife/TCG A-ha! Program, supporting artistic and managerial innovation at not-for-profit theatres; the Leadership U[niversity] Program; the internationally focused Global Connections program; and the Audience (R)Evolutions program, in support of innovations in audience development.
Theatre Communications Group’s member networking activities are primarily conducted in the form of annual events. The largest of these events are the Fall Forum on Governance and the National Conference. The Fall Forum on Governance is held in New York City and is programmed around a different central theme each year. Past themes have included “Investing in Vitality,” “Leading the Charge,” and “Capitalizing an Art Form.” The National Conference is held in a different city in the United States each year and is also programmed around a central theme. Recent TCG National Conferences have included “Learn to Teach” in Dallas, TX; ); “Model the Movement” in Boston, MA; and “TCG at 50: What If…” in Los Angeles, CA.
Founded in 1984, TCG Books is considered the largest independent publisher of dramatic literature in North America. As of 2014, it has published the work of 235 playwrights and theatre professionals in over 1,600 titles, including 11 winners of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, one winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, as well as numerous Tony, Drama Desk and OBIE Award winners. TCG also serves as the exclusive U.S. distributor for Playwrights Canada Press of Toronto, Padua Playwrights Press of Los Angeles, New York publishers League of Professional Theatre Women, PAJ Publications, Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Publications and Playscripts, and London publishers Nick Hern Books, Aurora Metro Publications and Oberon Books.
Theatre Communications Group publishes American Theater Magazine, a periodical focused on the non-profit professional theatre, and ARTSEARCH, a career and job search resource for performing arts professionals. American Theatre Magazine is published 10 times a year and distributed to TCG members free of charge. ARTSEARCH is published digitally and released on a quarterly basis.
- List of Theatre Communications Group member theatres
- Regional theater in the United States
- List of LORT Member Theatres
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- Baker, Annie (2012). The Vermont Plays. New York, NY: TCG Books. ISBN 978-1-55936389-1.
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