The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) is accepting nominations for its Center Stage cultural programme designed to support professional performing arts ensembles.

Hosted by colleges and universities, festivals, music clubs, and cultural centres, a total of six groups from Ethiopia, the Philippines, and South Africa will make month-long US tours to large cities and small towns, engaging in a range of activities from performances, workshops, artist to artist exchanges, masterclasses, and community gatherings from July to December 2023.

Nominations of professional performing arts ensembles may be submitted by anyone, including presenters, artists and their representatives, regional arts organisations, state arts agencies, international institutions, and individuals in the US and abroad. Artists may submit a nomination on behalf of their own ensemble.

Center Stage welcomes important new voices into our national cultural dialogue, enlarging our world, and sharing diverse, global perspectives directly with communities in the US and with fans and allies abroad,” senior programme director at NEFA Adrienne Petrillo said.

The selection of six groups from among the three participating countries will take into consideration diversity and mix of art forms, and logistical considerations.


The nominees must:

  • Demonstrate high artistic quality and accomplishment.
  • Have an interest in engaging with US communities, including young people, through public and in-school performances, workshops, discussions, artist-to-artist exchanges, and social events.
  • Be comprised of two to nine ensemble members (artists and staff) who are citizens and residents of the selected countries/regions, and 21 years or older at the time of a Center Stage tour.
  • Have previous touring experience but have rarely been seen in the U.S.
  • Have the ability to communicate electronically via email and Zoom in English.
  • Have an interest and agree to actively share their experiences through traditional press outreach, social media channels, and other virtual means.
  • Be available to tour in the US for approximately one month during the period of July to December 2023.


  • All nominees will be notified of their status by email in February 2022.
  • Finalists will be asked to participate in Zoom meetings with Center Stage staff and reviewers between March and April 2022.


Center Stage will arrange and pay for travel, lodging, per diem for meals and incidentals, and any required US taxes. Fees are paid to each person who travels on tour. Participants travel on J-1 visas and are provided with emergency medical coverage while in the US.

Interested individuals can access the nomination forms here.

The application deadline is 21 November 2021.

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