The Theatre Lab to Receive $20,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts - The Theatre Lab

The Theatre Lab to Receive $20,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts


Elliot Lanes


May 17, 2021

WASHINGTON (May 17, 2021)—The Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts has been approved for a $20,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to support arts education. This project will fund The Theatre Lab’s award-winning Life Stories programs in DCPS middle and high schools in under-resourced communities. The Theatre Lab’s project is among the more than 1,100 projects across America totaling nearly $27 million that were selected during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2021 funding.

“As the country and the arts sector begin to imagine returning to a post-pandemic world, the National Endowment for the Arts is proud to announce funding that will help arts organizations such as The Theatre Lab reengage fully with partners and audiences,” said NEA Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. “Although the arts have sustained many during the pandemic, the chance to gather with one another and share arts experiences is its own necessity and pleasure.”

“We’re grateful for the NEA’s continued commitment to supporting transformational theatre education in Washington, DC,” said Theatre Lab Co-Executive Director Deb Gottesman. “Our Life Stories programs help young people take control of their own narratives and bring them to life on the stage and screen. After a year of social isolation for so many teenagers, we are especially excited about the opportunity to encourage creative collaboration between peers and to elevate the stories of people whose voices too often go unheard.”

The Theatre Lab’s Life Stories® program teaches people from vulnerable populations to create original dramatic works using their own life experiences. Since launching the program in 2000, we have brought life-transforming opportunities for creative self-expression to more than 2,500 youth and adults from age 3 to 100+. The Life Stories program offers training in acting, storytelling, screenwriting and directing, and has been nationally recognized and is the subject of two award-winning documentary films, How I Got Over, a full-length feature by director Nicole Boxer, and The Life Stories Project, a short film by Michael O. Snyder. Under the careful guidance of Theatre Lab instructors, people young and old transform their personal narratives into film or theatre. Past Life Stories partners include nonprofits serving incarcerated and at-risk youth, homeless women, seniors in assisted living facilities, veterans, and more. To learn more about Life Stories and The Theatre Lab, visit

For more information on the projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit

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