Touchstone Theatre, a resident ensemble theatre company, is one of the Lehigh Valley’s most treasured and enduring creative forces. Founded in 1981 as a professional, not-for-profit ensemble theatre, Touchstone produces and presents original – and classic – theatre. In addition, the theater has become known for its innovative ArtsTouch programs, which engage local youth in the arts and creativity and teach a positive means for self-expression through the use of theatre techniques.
Through ArtsTouch, Touchstone’s professional theatre artists brings innovative educational programs to local schools and develop theatre-based programs that foster cultural, international, and community collaborations.
Touchstone Theatre is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. You can visit www.touchstone.org for more details on the theatre’s programs, to purchase tickets to performances, or to make a tax exempt contribution to further it’s mission of arts outreach.
Touchstone’s ARTSTOUCH Programs
ArtsTouch refers to all of Touchstone’s programming that involves youth. Examples of our current programs are listed below, although Ensemble members also conduct arts-integration residencies or theatre workshops at local elementary and secondary schools, as well as theatre performances created for young people, such as Don Quixote: The Adventure Begins or Tales from the Middle East.
ArtsTouch is comprised of 1) Building Bridges which utilizes the music and theatre arts to engage emotionally troubled youth through the Colonial Intermediate Unit and 2) The Young Playwrights’ Lab.
From pre-school programs to university training, Touchstone’s Ensemble has been actively involved in helping students explore curriculum subjects, critical thinking, listening, teamwork, the ability to interpret and construct meaning, and the fine art of being fully human in addition to honing their theatre skills. “Not only do ArtsTouch programs allow the Ensemble to serve as a positive force in the local community,” states Vicki Haller Graff, a long-time Ensemble Member and former Education Director, “ they also allow the Theatre to reach a more inclusive audience and affect the lives of individuals who might not otherwise experience live performance.”
Target Population/Geographic Communities/Socio-economic Status/Numbers Served
- Youth in grades 3-10 from the Lehigh Valley and surrounding region.
- 80% of the youth are from low-income families.
- 300 (students, teachers, single ticket buyers, sponsors)
- Donegan Elementary School
- Central Elementary School
- Freemansburg Elementary School
- Regional Academic Standards Academy
- Centennial School of Lehigh University
- Pocono Mountain High School
- Pocono Mountain Intermediate School
- East Stroudsburg High School.
- Easton High School
- Moravian Academy
- Nazareth Middle School
- Freedom High School
- Saucon Valley High School
The demand for the program and need exceed the resources available. ArtsTouch programs have been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the PA Council on the Arts, the Department of Community and Economic Development, Baker Foundation, Rider-Pool Foundation, Keystone Nazareth Charitable Foundation, Route 222 Corridor Anti-Gang Initiative, individuals, and corporations.