URTA | Grant Program



The University Resident Theatre Association has been in service to the American theatre for nearly 50 years. What began as an effort to consolidate recruiting for graduate training programs has become the country’s largest membership association of MFA programs in acting, design, directing, and management. Over the years, we’ve grown to include many other programs that support the training and development of theatre artists, including Artist Engagement Services, which provides universities, colleges, and non-profit theatres with the contracting and paymaster services needed to hire union artists, to both enrich the training of emerging artists, and to support the expansion of great theatre to audiences everywhere.

With our newest initiative, we’ve chosen to support the employment of design assistants at theatres across the country. The design assistant not only plays an important role in bringing a theatrical production to life, but the position also provides the unique opportunity for a talented young professional to “apprentice” with a more experienced production designer. It’s an important step in the career development of a theatrical artist, but unfortunately many smaller theatres simply can’t afford to employ design assistants on a regular basis. We want to make sure this opportunity isn’t lost to emerging designers, looking to build their experience and knowledge of the craft.


URTA will fund up to $1,500 toward a design assistantship for a member of United Scenic Artists, including salary and contributions to union pension and health funds.

With the award, URTA will provide paymaster services, including workers compensation, as well as any required withholdings and employer taxes.


-The theatre must be collectively bargained under Equity LORT C/D Agreement.
-The assistant must assist a specific designer on a specific production.
-Describe to URTA how your theatre contributes to your community and the ways in which you help expand the experience of young, professional theatre artists.
-Submission of projected production budget.


Submission opens July 1st and ends August 15. The award will be announced September 1st. Please submit to ctrent@urta.com or mail your submission to 1560 Broadway, #1103 NY NY 10036

Thank you!