Research Thursdays - FAU’s Theatre Lab Receives Heckscher Foundation for Children Grant

Thursday, Feb 25, 2021
Theatre Lab Receives Heckscher Foundation for Children Grant

Florida Atlantic University’s Theatre Lab in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters recently received $250,000 from the Heckscher Foundation for Children for Theatre Lab’s Educational and Community Outreach Programs for the 2021-22 season. This is the seventh season for which the organization has received $250,000, making the total award to date $1.5 million.

“Our mission to inspire, develop, and produce new work, audiences and artists is directly linked to education outreach,” said Lou Tyrrell, Theatre Lab founding director and Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in the Arts.

Hecksher Grant


The grant funds four educational outreach programs at Theatre Lab. The first is the Future PAGES (Playwrights, Artists, & Generation of Exciting Storytellers) Project, which serves 1,200 students (ages 9 and up), providing free creative-writing workshops, free transportation to the theater, and live-theatrical experiences. Afterward, students are invited to submit an original story based on the themes of the production. The top 2 percent of submissions are invited to join Theatre Lab for a six-week writing intensive workshop to rewrite and refine their writing and create an evening of original monologues performed by those students. 

The second program is the @Center program which provides creative writing and theatrical arts residencies to partner organizations serving at-risk and adjudicated youth, providing these students with the tools to express themselves and their stories through the arts. LabRATS (Rising Artists Theatre Society) follows on to the @Center program, providing workshops in theatrical arts to partner schools. Up to 15 students from those schools are invited to join Theatre Lab for a period of eight weeks to create, develop and perform a piece of devised theater inspired by an educational theme and the writing.

The Teaching Artist Institute is the newest program, providing participants the tools to design, implement, and execute an effective Educational Outreach program. This program is designed to help support the broader arts education community by training highly-effective teaching artists. It was piloted this past year with FAU graduate students, and will be offered to the general public next spring.


“The creation, development, and continued growth and success of these programs has been and continues to be the highlight of my career to date. I am incredibly proud of our past work and excited for the future of all these wonderful programs.”– Matt Stabile, Theatre Lab, Producing Artistic Director

For more information about Theatre Lab at FAU, visit

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