Manbites Dog Theater is back, and it’s looking to spend some money on local theater.

After an eleven-month hiatus after the sale and closure of its longtime Foster Street space in June 2018, the venerable thirty-two-year-old independent theater company began its second incarnation, as a support organization for regional theater, by posting a call for grant proposals on its website Wednesday morning.

Manbites Dog’s first year of grants will range from $500 to $2,500 and support Triangle theater companies and artists in production-related expenses for projects in Durham, Wake, Orange, and Chatham counties. “Initially, we’d considered limiting our scope to Durham,” says managing director Ed Hunt, “but for years we’ve had support from grants, audiences, and artists in the larger geographical area.”

The company will also give preference to smaller regional groups and artists with annual operating budgets of $200,000 or less. Funded works must be produced between September 2019 and June 2020.

Having spent years on the other side of the table with grant applications, Hunt and his colleagues have tried to pare down the amount of information required to evaluate proposals. “We wanted to make it as simple and painless as possible for those who need the funds to apply,” Hunt says. “Basically, the application’s asking four things: Who are you? What’s your past history as a theater artist? What is your project? And how are you going to pay for it?”

That last question is important, as Manbites Dog’s grants will fund 25 percent at most of a chosen project’s total budget. Hunt can’t predict the number of applications the company will receive by its June 17 deadline, but he anticipates total first-year grants in the range of “several tens of thousands of dollars.”

“We want to be encouraging,” Hunt says.”We hope all of the grant applications we get are fundable to one extent or another.”

Correction: Owing to a typo, this piece originally misstated the operating-budget cap for funded groups and artists. 

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