Touchstone Theatre Receives NEA Art Works Grant to Support The Young Playwrights Lab


National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman announced today that Touchstone Theatre is one of 788 not-for-profit national, regional, state, and local organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. Touchstone Theatre is recommended for a $20,000.00 grant to support the art educational components of the Young Playwrights Lab. The 788 Art Works grants total $24.81 million and 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 the strengthening of communities through the arts.

Touchstone Theatre's Young Playwrights' Lab (YPL) uses dynamic theatre activities and improvisations to teach local students, grades 3 and up, to write original, one-act plays. These students learn theatre skills, monologue and dialogue writing, character creation, and other fundamentals of playwriting. Using these elements, students learn to develop their ideas into a one-act play. YPL provides a vehicle for a diverse cross-section of local young people to share their stories. Each year ends with the Young Playwrights’ Festival where several plays are performed with actors from the Lehigh Valley area and directed by Touchstone ensemble members and guest directors.

Chairman Landesman said, “The arts should be a part of everyday life. Whether it’s seeing a performance, visiting a gallery, participating in an art class, or simply taking a walk around a neighborhood enhanced by public art, these grants are ensuring that across the nation, the public is able to experience how art works.”

This year's Touchstone Young Playwrights Festival and Gala will be held on May 19th at 7pm. Tickets to the performance, which is held at Zoellner Arts Center's Baker Hall, are $10.00 and tickets to the performance and gala are $75.00. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 610-867-1689.

"We are grateful to the NEA for this award," said Cathleen O'Mally, Touchstone's Educational Director and Ensemble Member. "The Young Playwrights Lab will continue to educate children through the arts, and we sincerely appreciate this national recognition."

The NEA received 1,624 eligible applications under the Art Works category for this round of funding, requesting more than $78 million in funding. For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at

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