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Theater Project Receives Grant From NJ Council For The Humanities For BLACK LIVES/BLUE LIVES Program


Theater Project Receives Grant From NJ Council For The Humanities For BLACK LIVES/BLUE LIVES Program

The Theater Project has announced the award of a COVID-19 Response Grant of $6880 from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH).

This gift is to support the company's BLACK LIVES/BLUE LIVES program and its transition to virtual platforms this summer and fall as The Theater Project, like so many cultural institutions, looks for new ways to keep old programs available. The grant will make the program accessible to a wider audience as the company offers it, via Zoom, to interested community organizations.

Two playwrights, two actors: Black Lives / Blue Lives consists of two short one-man plays: Black Lives by Steve Harper is performed by Lambert Tamin; Blue Lives by Bill Mesce, Jr., is performed by Gary Martins. Both are directed by Will Budnikov. The plays serve as a springboard for a discussion moderated by Dr. Sara Compion of Kean University, in which audiences are invited to discuss, "Where do we go from here?"

"What all of us involved with this project hope is that Black Lives / Blue Lives might become a useful tool that raises awareness and starts discussion among people who might otherwise be tempted to ignore the problem." says playwright Bill Mesce.

Black Lives was written by Los Angeles-based writer Stephen Harper whose credits include the ABC series American Crime, TNT drama Tell Me Your Secrets, USA Network's Covert Affairs, and his original web series Send Me which garnered an Emmy nomination for series star Tracie Thoms. New Jersey author, playwright and screenwriter Bill Mesce, Jr. adapted Blue Lives from Adam Plantinga's acclaimed non-fiction book, 400 Things Cops Know: Street-Smart Lessons from a Veteran Patrolman.

Mesce's credits include an award-winning trilogy of WW II novels, several plays, and most recently, the just-published The Wild Bunch: The American Classic that Changed Westerns Forever.

The Theater Project is deeply grateful to the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, and their support for organizations impacted by the pandemic. As stated in the Council's announcement, "Eighty-two organizations were awarded $649,620 in emergency COVID-19 Response Grant funding. This funding will be crucial for the many organizations that are suffering across the state.

These organizations, often the cherished cultural anchors in their communities, promote lifelong learning and the exploration of our history, cultures, values, and beliefs".

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