Homeless women in recovery from addiction, expelled youth working toward a GED, young men in juvenile detention, seniors in assisted living: everyone has a story to tell, a voice that needs to be heard, a life that is waiting to be transformed. At The Theatre Lab School 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 Theatre Lab serves hundreds of youth and adults through its Life Stories program and its new Life Stories Institute, and hundreds more through classes and summer camps in acting, directing, playwriting, and musical theatre at its home in Gallery Place. Instruction comes from local actors, directors, and playwrights, and each year more than $80,000 in scholarships is granted to a third of those enrolled (Life Stories is tuition-free). Winner of the Mayor's Arts Award for Innovation in the Arts, The Theatre Lab is committed to improving the quality of life in our region. What a story.

Headquarters: DC-Ward 2

Where They Operate: DC-Citywide

Age Groups Served: Youth; Adolescence; Teenagers; Young Adult; Adult; Elderly; Grades K-5; Grades K-12; Grades 6-12; Grade 9-12

Ethnic Groups Served: African American, 42%; Asian American, 1%; Caucasian, 40%; Latino/Hispanic, 11%; Multicultural, 5%; Native American, 1%

Population(s) Served: All

Schools They Work In: Maury Elementary, Tyler Elementary

Awards & Recognition

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


Catalogue charities range in size from $100,000 to $3 million. This graphic indicates the budget range of the organization featured here. If you see an organizational budget above the $3 million mark, that is because the featured charity has grown in size since it first appeared in the Catalogue. We proudly present on our website the work of these "growth" charities.

Budget (FY2013)

  • $3 million or higher
  • 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

About the Catalogue for Philanthropy

The Catalogue selected us as one of its featured charities! Each year 120 expert reviewers evaluate applicants for distinction, merit, and impact. Each featured charity has been successfully site visited and its financials given the thumbs up. The Catalogue for Philanthropy charges no fees and raises funds separately to support its work. Since 2003, it has raised over $30 million for charities across Greater Washington.

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