(WEST ORANGE, NJ) -- Luna Stage has been awarded a $20,000 grant from the New Jersey Arts & Culture Recovery Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation to support their ongoing artistic work and education programming. The New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund was established to ensure the survival and strength of the state's arts, cultural and historical sector during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the past 12 months, Luna has commissioned and produced an innovative season of virtual plays and films, and has offered classes for both youth and adults. All programs of the West Orange-based professional theatre are pay-what-you-wish during the COVID-19 pandemic to expand access to opportunities for creativity and connection.
Luna’s upcoming programming includes #RIFT, a durational play over text message beginning March 29, exploring the ideological divide in America and asking, "Is love enough?" Written by Gabriel Jason Dean, whose Heartland inspired Luna audiences in 2019, #RIFT is a window into the relationship of two real-life brothers--one a convicted murderer, the other a playwright; a member of the Aryan Brotherhood versus an A.O.C. type progressive.
Also upcoming at Luna is We the People: Songs of Civics, a three-installment civics education project composed of original songs, accompanying Schoolhouse Rock-esque music videos, and a built-in educational curriculum available starting March 31. The content centers on the history of civic participation in the United States along with the ensuing struggle to maintain democracy and a stable government in the face of division, confusion, and apathy. Offered to educators across New Jersey, these self-contained episodes can supplement existing lesson plans or stand alone to assist teachers in contextualizing current issues and events. In addition to each 15-minute segment, teachers will be provided with a list of prompts to extend classroom discussion and develop students' creative responses.
Rounding out the season is Stories of Orange, a new documentary production that will premiere in May. Led by artists from the internationally acclaimed Ping Chong and Company, this innovative new multimedia piece will feature real-life stories of people who have deep ties to the City of Orange.
Luna also offers virtual and hybrid educational programs for youth and adults. Youth programs include filmmaking, improv, acting for the camera, podcasting, screenwriting, scene study, playwriting and stage combat. Classes for adults include 10-Minute Playwriting and Musical Theater.
The first phase of the NJACRF closed in January 2021, awarding $2.6 million to 100 NJ-based non-profits statewide. The second phase will begin accepting applications on March 1st with a deadline of April 12, 2021.
Both #RIFT and Songs of Civics are also supported by the New Jersey Theatre Alliance 2021 Stages Festival, made possible by support from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; Bank of America; The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey; OceanFirst Foundation; the George A. Ohl, Jr. Trust; New Jersey Historical Commission; and Fund for the New Jersey Blind.
Luna Stage develops and produces vibrant plays about local and global experiences. Firmly rooted in New Jersey's Valley Arts District - a crossroads of cultures - Luna brings its communities together for artistic events that spark conversations and create understanding and change.
Luna Stage is the recipient of the 2019 People's Choice Award for Favorite Small Theatre in New Jersey. Luna has contributed to the development of over 100 new works for the stage, many of which premiered at Luna and have gone on to be produced in New York, regionally and internationally.
As producer, innovator, and educator, Luna is dedicated to eliminating barriers to participation and allowing all community members to nurture their own creativity and vision. Luna offers classes for children and adults, as well as opportunities for early-career and established theatre artists to develop and incubate new work.