The Theatre Lab's Life Stories Receives National Endowment for the Arts Grant - The Theatre Lab

The Theatre Lab’s Life Stories Receives National Endowment for the Arts Grant


April 17, 2014

Grant to support Life Stories Institute

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa has announced that The Theatre Lab is one of 886 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive a very competitive NEA Art Works grant. The Theatre Lab has been awarded a $20,000 grant to support the development of its new Life Stories Institute, launching this fall.

Life Stories is The Theatre Lab’s award-winning outreach program in which people from typically marginalized populations – including incarcerated youth, seniors in assisted living facilities, and homeless women in substance recovery – learn to create original dramatic works for the stage and screen using their real-life experiences. The Life Stories Institute, held this year October 16-19, is an intensive 4-day learning experience that will train educators, service providers and theatre artists from across the country to teach Life Stories programs in their own communities. 

Theatre Lab Co-Executive Director Deb Gottesman said “We are profoundly grateful to the NEA for supporting The Theatre Lab and our Life Stories Institute. We believe that theatre has the power to transform lives, and have witnessed that time and again working with the students in Life Stories. We look forward to sharing our techniques with people who love the arts and want to make a difference in their own communities.”

(The next Life Stories event will be May 2 at 5 p.m. at Theater J. The Life Stories Intergenerational Project features stories of area seniors acted out by local middle school students. This event is free and open to the public.)

NEA Acting Chairman Shigekawa said, “The NEA is pleased to announce that The Theatre Lab is recommended for an NEA Art Works grant. These NEA-supported projects will not only have a positive impact on local economies, but will also provide opportunities for people of all ages to participate in the arts, help our communities to become more vibrant, and support our nation’s artists as they contribute to our cultural landscape.”

Art Works grants support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancement of the livability of communities through the arts.  The NEA received 1,515 eligible applications under the Art Works category, requesting more than $76 million in funding. Of those applications, 886 are recommended for grants for a total of $25.8 million.

For more information about Life Stories, visit the page on our website. If you are interested in volunteering for Life Stories or learning more about the Institute, please call 202-824-0449 or email

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