The Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts Announces Fund to Expand Region’s Theatre Arts Education - The Theatre Lab

The Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts Announces Fund to Expand Region’s Theatre Arts Education


March 16, 2017

Washington’s largest theatre school launches fund to improve lives and strengthen communities through the arts

Washington, D.C. (March 16, 2017) – The Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts, Washington’s largest theatre school, announced today the Fund for Transformative Theatre Education. The fund celebrates The Theatre Lab’s 25th anniversary and aims to raise at least $250,000 this year to expand and support the organization’s award-winning dramatic arts education and groundbreaking outreach programs for underserved communities.

Over the last twenty-five years, The Theatre Lab has offered exceptional theatre education to more than 24,000 students of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels. “The Theatre Lab harnesses the power of artistic expression to transform lives, overcome adversity, open minds, and bring people together. At a time when national funding for the arts is being threatened, we are committed to raising awareness for the impact of the dramatic arts. The Fund for Transformative Theatre Education will help us expand our mission to make the artistic, social, academic and professional benefits of theatre training accessible to all,” said Deb Gottesman and Buzz Mauro, co-founders and co-directors of The Theatre Lab.

“The Theatre Lab has enriched Washington’s vibrant and diverse theatre community by putting community at the center of everything it does,” said Amy Austin, president and CEO of theatreWashington. “The Theatre Lab provides an accessible, nurturing environment that stresses both artistic and personal growth for everyone from first-time students to rising professional stars, including many who came to The Theatre Lab despite the odds to realize their dreams.”

Nationwide, only 10 percent of grant dollars for the arts benefit underserved communities and less than 4 percent focus on advancing social justice. The Theatre Lab commits 63 percent of its funding to these types of programs. Among the outreach programs the Fund for Transformative Theatre Education will support and expand include:

    • Life Stories Program: offers individuals in typically marginalized populations the opportunity to explore their life experiences through a creative lens. Since 2000, The Theatre Lab has shared Life Stories Program with thousands of participants including incarcerated youth, wounded veterans, immigrant teens, seniors living in assisted living facilities, and formerly homeless women.
    • Life Stories Institute: trains and certifies theatre artists, educators and social service providers to become Life Stories instructors, with the ability to start their own program in their communities. The Fund will also help The Theatre Lab launch an online learning platform to make the Life Stories curriculum accessible around the world.
    • Scholarships: Each year, The Theatre Lab distributes more than $100,000 in scholarships to children who could otherwise not afford to attend summer camps or year-round classes. Children receive the benefits of theatre education including stronger communication skills, enhanced teamwork, and increased self-confidence.
  • Training for the next generation of theatre professionals. The Theatre Lab’s rigorous Honors Conservatory prepares local actors and technicians for successful careers and in turn, contributes to Washington’s creative spirit and growing economy. Honors Conservatory graduates have an 85 percent employment rate in local professional theatre.

For more information about The Fund for Transformative Theatre Education and The Theatre Lab’s programming and impact, please visit,


Founded in 1992, The Theatre Lab is Washington, D.C.’s largest and most comprehensive independent, nonprofit school for the dramatic arts. Our mission is to transform lives through theatre education. We work to make the real-life benefits of theatre training accessible to all regardless of age, income, or experience level. The Theatre Lab has received the Mayor’s Arts Award for Innovation in the Arts, the Caron Treatment Community Service Award, and recognition as one of the 50 “top out-of-school arts and humanities-based programs in the country” by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

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