Well, it’s finally here, the moment when I can say MISSION ACCOMPLISHED after the successful conclusion of MAKE SURE IT’S ME/nh–part 1!
ACT ONE’s 2012-2013 season included TWENTY-TWO events inspired by and based on Kate Wenner’s play about Traumatic Brain Injury in the military:
- a meet-the-playwright teaser event last October at WEST
- a full reading of the script at Portsmouth Public Library last November
- FIVE library presentations in March and April
- FIFTEEN performances of the world premiere production at WEST in June!
Angela Molihan as SSG Annie Nichols and Christian Maurice as HM Jackson Cantrell
We hosted 590 audience members for the WEST production, and more than 200 for our teaser and library events–that’s a total of 800 people who participated in MSIM/nh!
Our audiences included military veterans of the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, and even WWII. Post-9/11 veterans were offered free tickets and all others were offered discounts. Many took us up on our offers–over 12% of our audience claimed veterans’ tickets. But even more told us they had served but wanted to pay full price to support our mission of serving military families coping with blast-related TBI. So the actual number of veterans who came to watch, to learn, and to share their stories and opinions with us was closer to 15%. We were delighted and humbled to host so many who had served, as well as their family members.
Kim Holliday as Sandy Ames
We also met audience members living with brain injury, or working in the health care or teaching fields where they advocated for the injured. We spoke with numerous concerned civilians who said we made the news reports they had been hearing for years suddenly come alive with meaning for them. I personally received so many hugs, so many hand shakes, and so many confidences from brave, struggling people of all backgrounds that it was difficult to take it all in. But we knew from the very first MSIM/nh event that we were doing important work and it was affecting people in positive ways.
Alissa Cordeiro as Angel Rodriguez
Well, our community is not letting us off the hook now. ACT ONE has been asked by our audience members, and the NH National Guard, and the NH Commission on PTSD & TBI, and the Military-Civilian TBI Collaborative, and numerous other organizations with whom we’ve come to partner with in the past year and a half, to please continue this work in some fashion in the year to come. And so we are putting plans in place to do just that, by expanding and refining our traveling presentation to reach the far corners of our state (and maybe beyond?). Playwright Kate Wenner is collaborating with us on all aspects of this effort, and I will keep you posted on our development process and event schedule.
To read more about all things MSIM/nh, and to see more great pictures, visit the MSIM/nh page. Thanks again to all of you for joining me and ACT ONE in what has been an extraordinary theatrical outreach initiative. Stay tuned. . . and in the meantime. . .
Come see some great theatre at WEST during ACT ONE’s Festival 2013!