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Performing Arts

Performing Arts Technologies Lab

The Performing Arts Technologies Lab is both a grant and a support system designed to expand access to and nurture new methods for creating, sharing and experiencing the performing arts. The Doris Duke Foundation (DDF) is looking for innovative ideas in jazz, contemporary dance and theater that make use of new digital tools and production methods.

Whether you are just starting to explore these ideas or have been working with emerging stage technologies and new digital tools for a long time, we’re interested in your unique artistic and technical proposals. DDF welcomes all performing arts perspectives and technical approaches from individuals, partnerships and organizations.

Selected projects will proceed through a series of development phases, beginning with the articulation of a basic concept and culminating, for some proposals, in a fully funded implementation. Support will combine financial resources with technical assistance. Participants will be expected to participate in a series of virtual and in-person meetings that will be programmed to facilitate shared learning and exchange.

 

Background

The history of the performing arts is also a history of technology. From theater design, lighting, rigging and sound to the integration of digital processes on stage, these innovations continually provide artists with new forms of expression and audiences with new forms of experience.

COVID-19 fundamentally accelerated the role of digital technology in the arts. In forcing the closure of in-person venues and experiences, many artists and presenting organizations developed creative ways to reconceive their craft and engage audiences from their homes. Some of these improvisations powerfully and compellingly opened new, previously unexplored pathways to reach and move audiences. In other cases, the dizzying pace of change led to unprepared or poorly implemented projects due to lack of access and resources. For some, the options for remote engagement were altogether impossible.

DDF hopes that support from the Performing Arts Technologies Lab will help to generate the conditions necessary for the fields of theater, contemporary dance and jazz to sustainably and effectively leverage the complete capabilities of digital technology in instances where it is artistically beneficial and creatively productive.

 

Opportunity

At the Doris Duke Foundation, we are dedicated to supporting the growth of performing artists and innovators, whether working independently, within institutions and nonprofits, or through partnerships and collaborations. We believe that advancements in digital technology and production methods can greatly enhance creativity in the performing arts and deepen audience experience.

In the realm of performing arts and technology, there are many questions to explore. Some are technical:

  • What new tools are emerging in the performing arts, and how are artists using them?
  • What skills and support do artists and arts professionals need to effectively use these tools?
  • What kind of setup is needed to integrate new digital and production technologies with performances, whether in-person, online or in hybrid settings?
  • How is digital technology changing the roles and requirements of those supporting arts production and administration?
  • Are the resources needed for the integration of new production technologies in the performing arts different from traditional methods, and how can we learn from one another’s experiences to enhance the creative process?

On a more fundamental level:

  • What creative possibilities does emerging digital technology unlock, and what are the limitations?
  • How can technology alter the dynamic between artists and their audiences, and what are the implications of such alterations?
  • Does technology align with or compete with the ways in which artists pursue their work and engage with the communities that assemble around it?
  • What does digital technology mean for the accessibility of performing arts for both artists and audiences?

To explore these questions, the Doris Duke Foundation is establishing the Performing Arts Technologies Lab. This initiative aims to support and nurture expansive ideas that seek to experiment with the potential of digital tools in the creation, presentation and distribution of performing arts. The lab is a space for individuals and organizations at all levels of technical expertise who seek to experiment at the intersection of technology and the performing arts.

Recognizing that emerging technologies can reshape the ways in which the performing arts are produced and presented, we welcome a broad range of approaches. This includes projects led by artists, organizations or creative partnerships, but also seeks to extend to those beyond the typical boundaries of the performing arts sector, and we encourage those who see new possibilities for technological advancements in the field to apply. DDF is eager to explore the power and potential of a diverse grantee cohort.

 

Applying for This Grant

For more information and before submitting an application, please closely review the request for applications documentPotential grantees will be asked to register with and submit proposals through our online grants portal.

 

Questions

If you have any questions concerning this Request for Applications, please consult our Frequently Asked Questions and register for our informational webinar on April 11. For more information, please watch the recording of the first webinar, which can be accessed here.  

For questions by email, please use artsRFP@dorisduke.org with “2024 Phase 1 Lab – [your last name]” as the subject line. Your questions will be answered within two business days

We have added additional office hours to talk with a lab adviser. Please note, due to a high volume of inquiries, the weekly slots fill up very quickly.  


Key Dates

March to July 2024 (all times in ET)

  • Program Launch - March 13
  • Information WebinarsMarch 19, 12:30-1:30 p.m. and April 11, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
  • Office Hours - March 22, 3-5 p.m., March 29, 3-5 p.m., April 5, 3-5 p.m., April 12, 3-5 p.m., April 19, 3-5 p.m. and April 26, 3-5 p.m. (Sign up via our office hours booking site.)
  • Application Deadline - May 6
  • Phase 1 Grantees Notified - July 1
  • Phase 1 Convening - Aug. 8-9

*Fall 2024 to spring 2025 dates to be determined.