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#4 - The Moonshot Pilot

Updated: Feb 13, 2019



Moonshot was launched in November, 2018, with the generous support of The Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development, a collaborative of several Chicago-based philanthropies. Arts Work Fund is dedicated to supporting the universe of small arts organizations in Chicago and is underwriting the first two case studies with two highly respected small Chicago companies: Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, a 25-year old women’s company, and The New Colony, a 10-year old company dedicated to bringing new ensemble-developed works to the stage. Rivendell is the grantee and fiscal agent for the pilot. We are currently fundraising and hope to add a third case study shortly--Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, a mid-sized company focused on classics, literary adaptations, and other established works. The Moonshot Pilot will enable us to test our value proposition, hone data collection and analysis methods, streamline our processes, and lower the cost of additional case studies. We expect that Moonshot will be completed in two to three years.


“Deep dive” meetings with company leaders from Rivendell and The New Colony were held in December to start the data gathering process.


We have not, of course, spoken to all the theatres in Chicago, but we expect there are many more that will share the curiosity and keen interest we have found. Beyond our work with the case study companies, we will continue to seek opportunities to talk with and engage the broader theatre community throughout the project. We will post to this Blog as the research proceeds and we have questions or insights to share with the field. And we’ll continue with one on one conversations with interested theatre companies. A small theatre leaders’ Roundtable, our first broader community conversation, was convened with leaders of thirteen companies, at the end of January.

Eight case studies will, of course, require additional funding, and we are pursuing that as we move ahead with the pilot in coming months.


We anticipate learning a great deal that will be useful beyond the eight Chicago theatre case studies and have valuable and much broader implications for theatre. We will produce and share a report at the conclusion of the project. What’s more, cultural organizations of all kinds—in all the performing arts and other media—engage in closely related processes when they plan their programs. We think it possible that Moonshot generate important new questions and knowledge of value to the entire universe of the arts.

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