MILLBURN, NJ - The Paper Mill Playhouse received a $40,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The funding supports the Paper Mill’s “Theatre For Everyone” project, a series of programs that serves the needs of children with autism and other social and cognitive disabilities.

“The arts reflect the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support organizations such as Paper Mill Playhouse, in serving their communities by providing excellent and accessible arts experiences.”
 
“Paper Mill Playhouse is honored to receive this major grant from the National Endowment for the Arts,” commented Todd Schmidt, Paper Mill Playhouse Managing Director. “Theatre for Everyone is core to Paper Mill’s mission of creating innovative initiatives that meet our New Jersey community’s needs while helping arts organizations across the country.”
 
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Project activities include autism-friendly performances; outreach performances at local schools and centers for children with disabilities; a year-long creative drama class for children with disabilities; and the inclusion of a school for children with disabilities in the Adopt-A-School Project, Paper Mill’s highly-regarded theater arts education initiative for underserved New Jersey schools.  Paper Mill’s award-winning Autism Advisory team provides ongoing expertise for these programs.

Mark S. Hoebee, Paper Mill Playhouse’s Producing Artistic Director said, “We are honored by NEA’s continued major support. These vital grants have made it possible for Paper Mill to achieve decades of innovation in accessibility and to diversify participation in live theater.”
 
“This grant will be crucial to the Paper Mill Playhouse and its students, and I applaud the National Endowment for the Arts for seeing the value in this extraordinary project,” said Congressman Leonard Lance.  “I attended a ‘Theatre For Everyone’ performance and saw first-hand the benefits that it provides to children who yearn for a means to express their creativity.  As a member of Congress, I try to ensure that arts centers like the Paper Mill Playhouse receive the funding they deserve and I look forward to continuing to be an advocate for the NEA on Capitol Hill.”
 
This year’s “Theatre for Everyone” project include many activities including the Academy 360 Partnership, in which the theater will assist in developing and implementing a sequential, theater-integrated curriculum for elementary school students.  The NEA has been helping to fund “Theatre for Everyone” for 36 years.
 
“We would like to thank Congressman Lance for his steadfast support of Paper Mill Playhouse and our ‘Theatre for Everyone’ program,” said Hoebee.  Lance attended a “Theatre for Everyone” class lead by instructor, Leslie Fanelli back in April.