Bindlestiff First of May Award

The Bindlestiff First of May Award is a $500 to $2,000 development grant for full-length variety arts productions.

For nearly 25 years, Bindlestiff Family Variety Arts, Inc. has been enriching New York City’s variety arts culture by producing and presenting unparalleled circus, sideshow and variety arts performances. In addition to teaching, performing, and producing, Bindlestiff offers the Bindlestiff First of May Award, which will grant $500 to $2,000 to a variety artist and/or group of variety artists to support their development of an original full-length production.

Submissions are now open to solo artists or troupes wishing to apply for this year’s award.

Submission Guidelines:

1. Proposals must include:

  • 1-page project description
  • 1-3 links to videos of past work
  • Resumés and/or bios of participating artists

2. Proposed productions must be at least 40 minutes in length.

3. Productions may be either solo or troupe-based projects.

  • If submitting as a solo artist, you must be a NYC resident.
  • If submitting as a troupe, at least 50% of troupe members must be NYC residents.


By submitting a proposal, applicants acknowledge that if the award is granted:

  1. Development of the proposed production must begin prior to June 30, 2020
  2. A progress report is due by December 31, 2020
  3. At least one public performance of the production must be presented in New York City before May 1, 2021 (a work in progress performance and/or segment of complete production is acceptable).

If these requirements are not met, the award must be returned.


Submissions must be received before midnight on April 1. Proposals should be submitted via email to Submissions will be evaluated based on artistic merit, originality, and variety arts relevance. Other criteria taken into consideration include the quality of the proposal itself, the project’s impact (social, community, etc.), and its stage of development (with preference given to projects not previously presented). The selected grantee(s) will be announced on May 1.

To submit a proposal, email

Past Awardees:

2012: Unmasked, created and directed by Lady Aye and Mistress B
2013: Solomon the Perplexer, created and written by Tanya Solomon and directed by Corn Mo
2014: Clown Baggage, created by Matt Wilson
2015: Wacky of Wallabazoo, created by Justin Weber; and Dandy Darkly’s Trigger Happy
2016: TruDee’s “Dances for Lovers” by Deborah Lohse; Ellia Bisker and Adam Kuchler’s Cupcake Show; and Jennifer Harder’s The Wild Party’s Over
2017: Kyle Driggs’ ENSO; Bennett Santora’s Seasons; and Angelo Iodice’s A Cowboy From The Bronx?!
2018: Shane & Collin Miclon’s The Preconceived Notions of Dr. Pellucida; Christopher Scheer’s [n]Gender; and Paris the Hip Hop Juggler’s juggling comedy show
2019: Maia Ramnath’s The Conference of the Birds; Mariko Iwasa’s Shout and Feel It; Becca Bernard’s The Fainting Room; and Jeff Seal’s Jeff and Buttons
2020: Loki Circus Theater’s COLORED GRRLS; Brianna Kalisch’s {IN}TANGIBLE a circus play; Stav Meishar’s Barbette at the Circus: Performing Gender; and Montana Miller’s untitled solo show