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George Street Playhouse Receives National Endowment for the Humanities Grant

originally published: 06/29/2020

George Street Playhouse Receives National Endowment for the Humanities Grant

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- George Street Playhouse is honored to receive a CARES Act economic stabilization grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to create the Digital Humanities Teaching Institute--a virtual professional development program for K-12 humanities teachers.  George Street Playhouse is one of five NEH CARES Act recipients in New Jersey.  This grant supports essential operations at more than 300 cultural institutions across the country, and GSP is one of five theatres in the nation that received this award.  

Offered at no cost to participants, GSP’s Digital Humanities Teaching Institute was envisioned in response to the new instructional relaties presented by Covid-19 school closures.  Focusing on developing high-quality distance and blended learning instructional models to serve the diverse needs and circumstances of K-12 students, the Digital Humanities Teaching Institute will provide up to fifty (50) teachers with the technical knowledge, tools, and arts integration strategies to effectively engage and assess student learning.   

“We are all linked together by stories--and as a cultural organization whose mission is to tell the stories of our time, George Street Playhouse is grateful to the National Endowment for the Humanities for this extraordinary opportunity to advance the humanities during this national crisis.   GSP’s Digital Humanities Teaching Institute will provide teachers with dynamic, cost-free professional development to create exceptional digital instruction for their students.”  says Jim Jack, Director of Education and Community Artistic Programming.  “Designed to provide economic assistance to and preserve jobs, this grant enables GSP to continue to employ staff and teaching artists who would otherwise have been furloughed during this time.”

George Street Playhouse Receives National Endowment for the Humanities Grant

“The CARES Act Grant is a visionary program that reflects the NEH’s understanding of the moment we are facing as a country”, said Dr. Adele T. Macula, a member of George Street’s Board of Trustees and chair of the Education Committee.  "GSP is fortunate to have the opportunity, through this grant, to see the transformative Arts Integration work of our Education Department and Teaching Artists continue in a way that is responsive to today's challenges with the creation of the Digital Humanities Teaching Institute.”

George Street Playhouse’s Artist-in-Residence program annually serves 150 classroom teachers and more than 3,500 students across New Jersey.   Anchored in humanities-based instruction, students research the lives and circumstances of individuals and groups wrestling with the complex and conflicting issues of their time.   

GSP responded to Covid-19 school closures by shifting all Artist-in-Residence programming in K-12 schools to digital instruction. Using innovative theatre arts integration strategies, GSP teaching artists have effectively used a variety of digital platforms, including Google Classroom, Flipgrid, Edpuzzle, TikTok to create original plays and musicals with students.  By engaging humanities-based instruction through digital theatre arts integration, this spring teachers found significant improvement in student engagement, understanding, and social emotional development.   

GSP’s Digital Humanities Teaching Institute will feature:

  • Workshops and videos designed for teachers to understand how to use digital technology for effective instruction, assessment, and engagement. 

  • Creative, arts integration strategies to strengthen lesson impact using arts integration methodologies

  • Approaches to effectively design and integrate SEL (Social Emotional Learning)  into digital units of study 

  • Ongoing professional development through December 2020 to support new instructional needs and challenges for classroom teachers

  • The development of humanities digital units of study for elementary, middle and high school classes that can be customized for educators.  These resources will be available free to educators in New Jersey and throughout the country

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. The NEH serves and strengthens our republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The Endowment accomplishes this mission by awarding grants for top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers.

NEH grants typically go to cultural institutions, such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, universities, public television, and radio stations, and to individual scholars. The grants strengthen teaching and learning in schools and colleges; facilitate research and original scholarship; provide opportunities for lifelong learning; preserve and provide access to cultural and educational resources; andstrengthen the institutional base of the humanities.

Since 1965, the Endowment has opened new worlds of learning for the American public with noteworthy projects such as:


  • Seven thousand books, 16 of which have won Pulitzer Prizes, and 20 of which have received the Bancroft Prize.

  • The Civil War, the landmark documentary by Ken Burns viewed by 38 million Americans

  • The Library of America editions of novels, essays, and poems celebrating America’s literary heritage

  • The United States Newspaper Project, which cataloged and microfilmed 63.3 million pages of historic newspapers, paved the way for the National Digital Newspaper Program and its digital repository, Chronicling America

  • Annual support for 56 states and territories to help support some 56,000 lectures, discussions, exhibitions and other programs each year


About George Street Playhouse

Under the leadership of Artistic Director David Saint since 1998, and Kelly Ryman, Managing Director since 2013, the Playhouse produces groundbreaking new works, inspiring productions of the classics, and hit Broadway plays and musicals that speak to the heart and mind, with an unwavering commitment to producing new work. With its 45-year history of producing nationally renowned theatre, the Playhouse continues to fill a unique theatre and arts education role in the city, state and greater metropolitan region.

At the start of its 2019-20 Season, George Street Playhouse moved to the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center in downtown New Brunswick.  Featuring two state-of-the-art theaters -- The Arthur Laurents Theater with 253 seats and The Elizabeth Ross Johnson Theater which seats 465-- and myriad amenities, the NBPAC marks a new era in the esteemed history of George Street Playhouse.

George Street Playhouse programming is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.  Grant funding has been provided by the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders through a grant award from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund.  

PHOTOS: (TOP) Photo by Brad Resnick (BOTTOM) Photo by Angela Peletier


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