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Apollinaire Resident Artist Program

Posted By John Meredith, Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Apollinaire Theatre Company Awarded 
Open Door Grant from The Boston Foundation to Create a New 

Resident Artist Program

at the Chelsea Theatre Works for Local Performing Artists

CHELSEA, MA, July 1, 2019— Apollinaire Theatre Company announced today it has received a $45,000 grant from the Boston Foundation to launch a Resident Artist Program at the Chelsea Theatre Works, through the Foundation’s Open Door Grants program.

Apollinaire Theatre built the new Black Box Theatre at the Chelsea Theatre Works to address the facilities crisis that Boston area performing artists face, a crisis which came to a head with the closure of the Factory Theatre in the South End in 2014. Apollinaire held meetings with Boston theatre artists to determine what their needs and desires were for a theater space, and together they drew up plans for a new theater that would do more than replace the Factory Theatre, it would offer amenities historically out of the reach of Boston’s small theatre community, including on-site rehearsal and shop space. But theatre companies need more than a home, they need support and resources.

Now with the Resident Artist Program, Apollinaire will address another issue: Boston is a difficult place for theatre artists to call home. Many talented, hard-working performing artists in Boston can barely scrape by. They have day jobs and families and somehow find time and resources to make their art, but it is not a sustainable model for an individual artist, a small theatre company, or a community. With the Open Door Grant, Apollinaire will be able to better serve Boston’s performing arts community, which will in turn expand Chelsea’s burgeoning arts scene and bring new opportunities to the local community.

Resident companies will be awarded free rent in the Black Box Theatre, rehearsal space for their productions, and shop space to build their sets, along with a project stipend. This will free up the companies’ budgets to reallocate funds where they feel they need it most, be it increased artist compensation, increased marketing efforts to build a stronger audience base, or the ability for resident artists to take on more ambitious productions that carry greater costs. Companies will also meet together to share ideas, brainstorm challenges, and leverage shared resources, working to create a multi-purpose incubation space where artists and companies can collaborate and share resources at every phase of their work. Companies will also be asked to give back to the community of Chelsea, and one resident spot will be reserved for a Chelsea artist or group.

“At a time when our research has shown both the need for greater support for artists and the benefits of artists’ involvement in the community, we are pleased to be able to support Apollinare Theatre’s Resident Artist program with an Open Door Grant,” said Orlando Watkins, Vice President for Program at the Boston Foundation. “We look forward to seeing how this program builds and strengthens the network of artists who call Chelsea home.”

Information Sessions will be held at the Chelsea Theatre Works on Tuesday July 16th at 7:30PM, Thursday July 18th at 1:00PM, and Monday July 22nd at 7:30PM, and all interested artists are encouraged to attend.  Visit to register and for more information.

Open Door Grants are competitive, one-year grants designed for organizations whose proposal is focused on Greater Boston and whose values align with those of the Boston Foundation. Grants are awarded quarterly, and are selected by staff through an inclusive evaluation process. Funds for this grant come from the Boston Foundation’s Permanent Fund for Boston, Greater Boston’s only endowed fund focusing on the pressing needs of Greater Boston. The Permanent Fund has been made possible by more than a century of gifts from those who seek to support innovative solutions to the region’s most pressing problems since 1915.

Apollinaire Theatre Company was formed in 1995 and named TheatreZone for the location in Boston where they produced their plays: the intersection of the Theatre District and the Combat Zone. Soon after, they began searching Chelsea for a place to create a new performing arts center, and in 1999 they purchased the historic Post Office/Odd Fellows Hall in Chelsea Square to create the Chelsea Theatre Works.

Today, the Chelsea Theatre Works houses three theaters, thanks to generous support from supporters including the City of Chelsea, MassDevelopment, Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, Benson Riseman, Mark DiGiovanni, and Peter Hubbard. The upstairs theater is where Apollinaire has produced their indoor seasons since 2004, which have included multiple Elliot Norton Award nominated and winning productions such as Uncle VanyaA Beautiful Day..., and Brilliant Adventures. The ground floor houses The Riseman Family Theatre, home of Apollinaire’s youth program—Apollinaire Play Lab— and the Black Box Theater and coworking space, both of which opened in 2016. Apollinaire is also known for Apollinaire in the Park, their free outdoor summer show now in its 17th year.

The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, brings people and resources together to solve Boston’s big problems. Established in 1915, it is one of the largest community foundations in the nation—with net assets of $1.3 billion. In 2018, the Foundation and its donors paid $129 million in grants to nonprofit organizations. The Foundation works in close partnership with its donors, with more than 1,100 separate charitable funds established for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes. It also serves as a think tank and advocacy organization, commissioning research into the most critical issues of our time, promoting civic engagement and helping shape public policy that advances opportunity for everyone in Greater Boston. The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), a distinct operating unit of the Foundation, designs and implements customized philanthropic strategies for families, foundations and corporations around the globe. For more information about the Boston Foundation or TPI, visit or call 617.338.1700.

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