Artist Selection

Artist Selection

Center Stage nominations are now closed. 

New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) and Lisa Booth Management, Inc. (LBMI) administer the selection process.

Independent month-long tours in the U.S. will take place during the 2023 presenting season. 

The selection of a total of six groups from these global areas will take into consideration diversity and mix of art forms, and logistical considerations.

Nominations of professional performing arts ensembles may be submitted by anyone, including presenters, artists and their representatives, U.S. Embassy personnel, regional arts organizations, state arts agencies, international institutions, and individuals in the U.S. and abroad knowledgeable about performing arts in the identified countries. Artists interested in participating may submit a nomination on behalf of their own ensemble. Multiple nominations for ensembles are accepted.


  • Demonstrate high artistic quality and accomplishment.
  • Have an interest in engaging with U.S. communities, including youth, 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, 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 an 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 U.S. for approximately one month during the period of July – December 2023.
  • Center Stage is particularly interested in professional artists creating contemporary work.


All nominations will be reviewed by Center Stage staff, U.S. Embassy personnel, and a panel of artistic advisors with knowledge of the performing arts and culture in these specific countries.

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 in March-April 2022.

Following approval by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, invitations to selected ensembles will be issued in May 2022.

Tour Conditions

Center Stage is a cultural exchange program. Performances are part of every tour, but classroom visits, workshops, artist-to-artist exchanges, media events, and other off-stage activities are a priority.

Each ensemble will visit 4 to 7 different communities in the U.S. – from major cities to small towns.

Honoria are paid to each person who travels on tour. Center Stage arranges and pays for travel, lodging, per diem for meals and incidentals, and any required U.S. taxes. Participants travel on J-1 visas, and are provided with emergency medical insurance while in the U.S.

A complete outline of terms and conditions will be provided to finalist candidates.


The U.S. Department of State working with NEFA identifies the participating countries/regions. U.S. Embassies may also independently participate.

Season 7 (2023): Ethiopia, Philippines, South Africa

Season 6 (2022-23): Argentina, ArmeniaTaiwan

Season 5 (2022): Colombia & Perú

Season 4 (2018): Egypt & Ukraine 

Season 3 (2016-2017):  AlgeriaPakistanTanzania

Season 2 (2014):  MoroccoPakistanVietnam 

Season 1 (2012):  HaitiIndonesia, Pakistan