Returning citizens, women in recovery, unhoused children and families, wounded veterans, teens working toward a GED, seniors in assisted living: everyone has a story to tell, a voice that needs to be heard, a life that is ready for transformation. At TTL they get to tell those stories, transforming their personal narratives into film or theater. And the self-esteem that comes from creating original works of dramatic art is life-changing. The pioneering, tuition-free, Life Stories (and Institute) program teaches hundreds of children, youth, and adults to create original dramatic work from their personal experiences. Hundreds more are able to participate in classes and summer camps in acting, directing, playwriting, and musical theater. Instruction comes from local actors, directors, and playwrights, and each year more than $150,000 in additional scholarships is granted to a third of those enrolled. Let the voices be heard.
Headquarters: DC-Ward 2
Where They Operate: DC-Citywide
Age Groups Served: Youth (5-11); Pre-teen/teen (12-17); Young adult (18-24); Adult (25-49); Seniors (50+)
Ethnic Groups Served: African American; Asian American; Caucasian; Latino/Hispanic; Native American
Population(s) Served: All
Schools They Work In: Maury Elementary, Tyler Elementary
- Scholarship dollars allotted annually to allow children to attend summer camp :
- Youth and adults in underserved communities that have been reached through our Life Stories program since 2000:
Awards & Recognition
CFP One of the Best Small Charities 2010-11, 2014-15
Caron Community Leadership Award, 2012
Mayor's Arts Award for Innovation in the Arts, 2010
Coming Up Taller Award National Semifinalist (President's Commission on the Arts and Humanities), 2007
NBC 4: 12 Days of Giving Honoree, 2005
Linowes Leadership Award, 2003
- The Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts celebrates Thirty Years of Arts Education Excellence
Thu Jun 16 2022, BroadwayWorld DC
The Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts has been and continues to be a driving force in arts education. With a staff comprised some...
- Wounded Veterans Learn Storytelling Techniques Participants Gain Perspective Through Sharing Personal Experiences
Fri Feb 19 2016, Marketwatch.com
Injured service members are learning techniques in improvisation and storytelling to create a monologue based on their personal story.
- Sharing a story can save a life: Theatre Lab's impact on D.C.'s forgotten populations
Wed Jan 27 2016, WTOP Radio
Life Stories Program helps those in D.C.'s marginalized populations find their voice and build their confidence through storytelling
- 'Cabaret' at The Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts
Fri Aug 7 2015, DC Metro Theatre Arts
The Theatre Lab lived up to its reputation as one of the most beloved and well-respected acting training grounds in the DC metro area ...
- Stage Briefs- Teens Set to Shine in Pacific Overtures
Thu Jul 2 2015, DC Theatre Scene
The Theatre Lab's award-winning Musical Theatre Institute for Teens will kick off with a performance of Pacific Overtures July 9.
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- The current budget for The Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts is: $1 million to $3 million
- $500k to $1 million
- Less than $500k
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