How to Apply

2023-2024 Request for Proposals

The program has two opportunities available for eligible applicants.

  1. Read the guidelines for each opportunity.
  2. Submit your Intent to Apply by Monday, January 9, 2023. Visit our grants portal, SmartSimple, to begin this process. Click here for detailed instructions on how to get set up in SmartSimple.
  3. Prepare your application. Each opportunity has a different application.
  4. Complete and submit the application form by Wednesday, February 8, 2023 at 11:59pm Central Time. If you are applying to both opportunities, an application for each opportunity must be submitted by this deadline.

Programming dates: August 1, 2023 – July 31, 2024

Shakespeare in American Communities: Schools

This opportunity is open to eligible 501c(3) professional theater companies that have produced Shakespeare or classically-based repertoire within the last five years and have a minimum of two years experience providing both performances and related educational activities for middle and/or high school students. Grant awards of $15,000 – $25,000 will be awarded to up to 40-50 theater companies to support performances and related educational activities for students from five or more schools. These awards require nonfederal match of 1 to 1. See guidelines for more information.

Community theaters and University or College Departments of Theater are not considered a professional theater company for the purpose of this program do not meet the requirements to apply.

Shakespeare in American Communities: Juvenile Justice

This opportunity is open to eligible 501c(3) theater companies or organizations across the nation that have two years’ experience partnering with the justice system and engaging youths in a theater education program that illuminates the works of Shakespeare and addresses his work in modern context between August 1, 2023, and July 31, 2024. Grant awards of $15,000 – $25,000 will be awarded to 6-10 applicants to support theater education programs that reach youths within the juvenile justice system. These awards will not require a nonfederal match of 1 to 1. See guidelines for more information.

A theater company who is eligible for the Schools program may submit an application for the Juvenile Justice program if they meet the requirements. There must be no overlapping programming or costs between the applications and budgets.


Arts Midwest requests that all applicants apply online unless a disability prevents them from doing so. The platform we use, SmartSimple, has a dedicated Quality Assurance team that tests this platform, plus an outside consultant (a completely blind computer user) who does both accessibility and usability testing quarterly. They use assistive technologies such as the JAWS screen reader.

Arts Midwest works to ensure that grant guidelines, presentations, and any other written materials are created with accessibility principles in mind. Additionally, we are happy to provide materials in Braille, Large Print, or other formats with advance notice.

To ensure everyone has access to the application, Arts Midwest staff will work with applicants who wish to use other means to apply. Solutions we have previously implemented include filling out an adapted form in Microsoft Word and providing verbal responses that Arts Midwest will share via audio recording or transcription.

Contact us as early as possible to begin a conversation about how we can help make this opportunity accessible to you. Please contact Carly Newhouse, program & accessibility manager, at [email protected] or 612.238.8002.

Curious about what makes an activity accessible? Visit our Accessibility Center, especially the Handbooks + Checklists section, for resources and tips on accessible events, venues, and platforms.

Application Assistance

15-minute consultations

Arts Midwest staff are available to help with your application. We can do some initial brainstorming/refining with you about ideas and will review application materials for eligibility and completeness. We are not able to help with reviewing content beyond eligibility. To schedule a meeting with a staff member, fill out the 15-minute consultation request form.

Contact Us

Joshua Feist, Director of Grantmaking, 612.238.8054

[email protected]