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$200,000 Awarded in Grants to Support Productions at Strand Theatre

Mayor Michelle Wu and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture today announced the City of Boston has awarded $200,000 in grants to 12 individuals and organizations to support productions at the Strand Theatre in Upham’s Corner.

“The Strand Theatre has been an iconic landmark in the Dorchester neighborhood for more than a century, and it’s great to see such a diverse group of presenters sharing their work at the theater over the next year,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “This grant program provides us with a unique opportunity to support those presenters, while also making these productions more accessible to the surrounding community.”

Photo from "can i touch it?" production by Company One Theatre at Strand Theatre
Photo from "can i touch it?" production by Company One Theatre at Strand Theatre in Dorchester.

This grant aims to assist presenters with mitigating costs to produce events at the Strand. The grant was open to all forms of performances, including dance, music, theater, film, and video. The City of Boston has set aside three five-week blocks on the Strand Theatre calendar throughout the next year for these productions.

“We’re thrilled to be able to help bring exciting, new programming to the Strand with this grant program and give small and emerging producers a chance to bring their visions to life,” said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston

The Strand Theatre grantees include:

  • Boston Bhangra, which will produce two dance events promoting Bhangra, a form of traditional Indian folk dance.
  • MAPOU Entertainment Inc., which will produce an event highlighting Haitian artists and vendors. 
  • FaceMeStudios, which will produce its first collaborative project, FaceMe Body Gallery, a three-day event and gallery focused on sharing the stories of the women and their experiences with self-esteem and body dysmorphia.
  • 4 Star Dance Studio, which will produce an event celebrating the organization’s 20th anniversary of serving the community. 
  • The Boston Modern Orchestra Project, which will produce the five-year series As Told By: History, Race, and Justice on the Opera Stage, starting with the New England premiere of X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X.
  • CUSAV Entertainment, which will produce Mega Show, an annual event featuring Cape Verdean artists with proceeds benefiting children in Cape Verde.
  • Tony Williams Dance Center, which will produce a multimedia piece that tells the story of African slavery in America and includes dancers and spoken word. 
  • OrigiNation Cultural Arts Center, which will produce the annual musical theater production of Our Story! Celebrating the African and African-American Experience through Spoken Word, Music & Dance, which takes place during Black History Month.
  • Roxbury Center for the Performing Arts, which will produce its 26th performance of Nubian Nativity, a nativity show focused on African-centered themes with an all-Black cast, in November 2022.
  • ANIKAYA/Akhra, Inc., which will produce The Women Gather, a ritual of healing performed by seven local and international ensemble members and a cohort of local dancers, singers, and performers.
  • Robby Thomas, who will produce “We Move in Color”, a musical revue that seeks to capture the African American narrative through music, poetry, dance, and visual art, with 300 tickets donated to the community for the event.
  • Company One Theatre, which just completed a four-week production of the new play can i touch it?, with all tickets being Pay-What-You-Want.

“This grant gave us the opportunity to reinforce our mission—amidst a pandemic—by returning to the Strand with a story focused on its own community, told by a writer who calls both Roxbury and Dorchester home," said C1 Co-Founder and can i touch it? director Summer L. Williams. "Over four weeks of performances, we partnered with over a dozen local community-driven organizations connecting artists, activists, entrepreneurs, teens, families, and more—all coming together around a truly local piece of art which will continue to make an impact far beyond Boston, with future productions already scheduled in Los Angeles and Cleveland, as well as a digital capacity to introduce this neighborhood and the Strand to the world. We are so grateful to partner with the City in creating meaningful performances at the Strand!"

Grant amounts range from $5,000 to $80,000 and were based on the scope of the production and grantees’ budget sizes. Productions must take place at the Strand, and the funding can be used for any production expenses, with the exception of the four-wall building space. Grantees receiving grants of at least $25,000 are required to make their productions Pay-What-You-Can or provide a required percent of free tickets to the community.

Applications for the next round of Strand Theatre grant funding will open in the fall of 2022. More information will be posted on

About the Strand

The Strand serves as a cultural and educational resource to artists and audiences, regardless of race or cultural background, age, ability, gender, economic level, or sexual orientation. It operates mainly as a roadhouse for touring events, concerts, community multicultural events, theater productions, dance productions, independent movie premieres, video production, rehearsal space, meeting space, and art exhibits. The building is comprised of five spaces, the Hall of Mirrors, Gallery Room, Main Stage, Grand Meeting Room and Back Meeting Room. The main auditorium seats 1,400 patrons and can be broken down to as little as 292 seats, featuring an in-house sound and light package to accommodate most non-touring productions.

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