The independent theater sector is a breeding ground of artistic innovation with influence far beyond its visibility.

Every day in New York City, hundreds of companies and thousands of artists make innovative and deeply original work in independent (downtown or Off-Off Broadway) theaters. This diverse community is the research and development wing of the American theater.

The independent theater sector is a breeding ground of artistic and managerial innovation with influence far beyond its means or visibility. It’s where Sam Shepard, Edward Albee, Eugene O’Neill, Tony Kushner, Al Pacino, Martin Sheen, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Judith Malina, Maria Irene Fornes, Jean- Claude Van Itallie, Lanford Wilson, Charles L. Mee, Jr., Amiri Baraka, Charles Busch, Bernadette Peters, Michael Greif, Sarah Ruhl, Allison Janney, Alex Timbers, Elizabeth Meriwether, Moises Kaufman, Michael Emerson and Mindy Kaling began their careers.

The place where Genet and Ionesco were first seen in America. The place where Manhattan Theatre Club and Playwrights Horizons, Hair and Urinetown got their starts.

We celebrate independent theater in New York City — a living cultural treasure — with the LIT Fund, a mechanism for its self-sustainability.
MISSION. The LIT FUND protects, sustains and strengthens independent theater presented in the five boroughs of New York City. In addition to granting vital financial resources to theater companies and individual artists, we stimulate the growth of independent theater by seeding projects that support and develop the community as a whole.
We believe that theater in New York City is a circle, not a ladder.  Through the Nickel Campaign, we commit to keeping that circle strong and unbroken; by working together to become a force that sustains itself, we lift our community as a whole and enhance and highlight its impact on the cultural landscape of our city.

Latest Work

A showcase of incredible talent and variety - snapshots from shows past and present by LIT Fund participating companies. << >>

Recent Updates

Latest info and updates from the LIT Fund of NYC.

LIT Fund Nickel-ympics


Come Support the LIT Fund and The Independent Theater Community

White Horse Theater


White Horse Theater’s recent production of ‘night, Mother directed by Cyndy A. Marion at the Hudson Guild Theatre. Pictured are Joy Franz* & Laura Siner*. Photo credit: Joe Bly. *appeared.. read more

First LIT Fund Grant Recipient


American Theater Magazine covers 1st ever LIT Fund grant recipient! Board members John Clancy and Susan Bernfield were interviewed by Eliza Bent for the February issue of American Theatre Magazine… read more