Skip to main content

Northern Stage is One of Four Recipients of a $1.25 Million Grant

Mar 12, 2018 03:55PM ● By Linda Ditch

Northern Stage is one of four recipients of a $1.25 million grant from the BOLD Theater Women’s Leadership Circle. Led by Carol Dunne, Producing Artistic Director for Northern Stage, the BOLD Circle will give $250,000 in support to Northern Stage and four other theaters run by female artistic directors during the 2018–2019 season.

The BOLD Circle’s mission is to create a network of women artistic directors in professional theaters across the United States and empower them to address the issues preventing women from advancing in theater leadership. The organization will support artistic initiatives focused on women artists and will create a formal mentorship program to train and prepare future women artistic directors to lead, create, innovate, and deepen the impact of theater on American culture.

There were more than 40 applications for the grants. The first grant recipient group includes Susan V. Booth (The Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, GA), Eileen Morris (The Ensemble Theatre, Houston, TX), Sarah Rasmussen (Jungle Theater, Minneapolis, MN), Lisa McNulty (WP Theater, New York, NY), and BOLD founder Carol Dunne (Northern Stage, White River Junction, VT).

How was Carol Dunne’s inclusion on the recipient list not a conflict of interest since she is the founder of the BOLD Circle? Ruby Summers, Director of Sales and Marketing at Northern Stage, explains, “All of the grant money was awarded first and foremost to Northern Stage and Carol Dunne by the Pussycat Foundation. Carol created the BOLD Women’s Leadership Circle in consultation with the Pussycat Foundation, and then created and led a panel of nationally prominent women theater artists to choose the remaining theaters. Essentially, Carol Dunne was the creator of the program, and the Pussycat Foundation is the funder of the program, but the two worked together in concert to create the initiative before any other theaters were asked to apply. Carol being one of the five awardees is an integral part of the funder’s desire for the leadership of the program.”

Specific plans for Northern Stage’s grant are already in the works. First, the new position of associate director was created. Former director of development, Amanda Rafuse, will take that job and be mentored by Carol in the skills of executive producing and theater management. The company also joined the Theater Communications Group, which is a national industry network for professional theater companies. This will allow Carol and Northern Stage to network with other women leaders across the nation.

Ruby Summers adds, “We have a focus on hiring more female directors and designers in the coming season, and the grant money is also funding the opportunity to workshop a new musical that has a woman on the creative team, both this season and next season.”

“In this time of turmoil and change, the BOLD Artistic Leadership grant feels like a beacon in the wilderness,” says BOLD winner Lisa McNulty, Producing Artistic Director of the WP Theater. “I am honored to join these indomitable women in fostering the next generation of female artistic leadership in the theater and in shattering glass ceilings across the nation."

For more information, visit


Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Image's free newsletter to catch every headline