SF Mime Troupe Rejected by NEA
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
Rejects 2018 Grant Application for
Tony & Obie Award-Winning

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The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has rejected the Tony and OBIE award-winning San Francisco Mime Troupe's (SFMT) 2018 grant proposal for $25,000. The only other time the SFMT was rejected for an NEA award for their summer show funding was for Oil and Water, which debuted in 2013.
On June 26, 2017, Breitbart News published an article titled "Trump NEA Grants $20k for Lesbian Illegal Alien Musical" using the SF Mime Troupe's summer musical about immigration, Walls, as a club with which to beat the National Endowment for the Arts. Saying that the NEA was funding "...a San Francisco musical about a criminal illegal alien lesbian with mental health issues who is in love with an immigration agent," Breitbart News was bolstering the case made by President Trump for defunding the NEA entirely.
Additional attacks against the NEA by way of the SF Mime Troupe have come from Senator (then Representative) Jeff Flake (R-AZ) in 2011, who attacked then NEA-Chairman Rocco Landesman over grants given to the SFMT, and in 2015 Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) who published an article about the SFMT in Volume 2 of "Waste Watch", discouraging future NEA funding for "strange, hyper-political groups like the San Francisco Mime Troupe". At the time of his grilling by Flake, Landesman replied that the SFMT would not be able to survive solely on ticket sales.
Indeed, the Mime Troupe does not charge for admission to its park shows, and only a few indoor or small-space shows are ticketed events, due to requests by presenting organizations. Instead, the SFMT relies on donations from patrons and audience members after the conclusion of the show (pass the hat), as well as other grant organizations and foundations, for it's funding.
Since 2012, the SFMT has received no more than $20,000 from the NEA for each production, which does help, but in reality is not enough to cover the cost of health insurance payments for its union members.
"We do not know if this sudden evaporation of funds is a direct result of the relentless attacks on our friends at the NEA" said Michael Gene Sullivan, Collective Member and Resident Playwright at the SFMT. "We hope this will be a temporary circumstance, and that their friends and supporters will contact their representatives to petition for a resumption of funding. If the only people in Congress who talk about free activist theatre are those who oppose it, then theatre of, by, and for the people cannot survive."
The SFMT will continue to perform shows, free in public parks in the San Francisco Bay Area, and will continue its Youth Theater Project wherein it educates SF youth on social justice and performance, and our Young California Writers Project, the SFMT's in-school activist playwriting workshop.
Please donate this Giving Tuesday (or today) to the SF Mime Troupe's winter appeal to help sustain its educational and performance funding.
In Solidarity,
The San Francisco Mime Troupe 

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