Thursday, July 1, 2021

Black Lives/Blue Lives Program Available to Community-based Organizations

The Theater Project (, a leading incubator for rising talent and a showcase for New Jersey artists, will be offering the thought-provoking interactive program, Black Lives/Blue Lives performances to community-based organizations in Northern and Central New Jersey. The original pair of one-acts explores each side of the police/race dynamic and uses the performances as a launching point for a facilitated discussion.

The performances have been made possible through a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. The grant allows the company to offer the program on a sliding fee scale.

This marks the second significant grant recently received by The Theater Project. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) awarded the Union Township-based organization a grant for $10,000 to produce a virtual production of LABOR, a dark comedy by noted playwright TyLie Shider.

“This Council for Humanities grant will enable us to bring Black Lives/Blue Lives—which deals with one of the most controversial issues of our time, police violence—to a wide variety of audiences, such as schools, churches and community organizations,” said The Theater Project’s Artistic Director Mark Spina. “The hope is to begin a constructive discussion.  The issue is so painful that it is tempting to turn away if you think you are not directly involved.  Using theater, however, we hope to create a safe space to take a closer look and discuss how and why these tragedies occur.”

The two one-act, interlocking plays—written by two accomplished screenwriters—will be followed by an after-performance discussion facilitated by Dr. Sara Compion, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at Kean University, and retired Theater Project Executive Producer Daaimah Talley. Prior to the pandemic shutdown the show had been performed at the Cranford Public Library and the Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy in Elizabeth.

Black Lives
 was written by Los Angeles-based, Emmy-nominated writer Steve Harper (right) whose credits include the ABC series American Crime, and the TNT drama Tell Me Your Secrets, while Blue Lives was adapted from Adam Plantinga’s acclaimed non-fiction book, 400 Things Cops Know: Street-Smart Lessons from a Veteran Patrolman, by New Jersey author, playwright and screenwriter Bill Mesce, Jr. (below, left)

For further information on The Theater Project, a Union Township-based 501(c)3 non-profit, professional theater producing off-Broadway quality shows for New Jersey audiences or to schedule a performance of Black Lives/Blue Lives, visit or call 908-809-8865.