What a fantastic spring for ACT ONE and MSIM! In March, we gave a great presentation at the Red River Theatres in Concord, NH. In April I traveled to Greenfield, MA to lead the student veterans of Greenfield Community College in their own reading from Make Sure It’s Me. Then, in early May, I received a call from Ron Snow of the Brain Injury Association of NH, inviting Stephanie Nugent and I to their annual conference the following week. Why? To be presented with the Ellen Hayes Award!
BIANH’s Ellen Hayes Award is granted each year to the individual or organization who has done the most to advocate for and improve the lives of the brain injured and their families. We were chosen for our work on ACT ONE’s MAKE SURE IT’S ME/nh event series, which consisted of eight traveling presentations and fifteen fully produced performances based on Kate Wenner’s play about Traumatic Brain Injury in the military. Through MAKE SURE IT’S ME/nh, we reached over 800 audience members across New Hampshire and into Massachusetts, including civilians, veterans of several generations, military family members, and health care providers. Our presentations included the creation of the TBI Fact Sheets, created in collaboration with veterans service providers and sponsored by the American Red Cross and BIANH.
At the award presentation, BIANH president Laura Flashman shared extensive and glowing observations of our work: “The difference in making a good production into a great production is the knowledge of the subject matter. Leslie embedded herself in as many TBI-related commissions, collaboratives, and events as humanly possible. While admittedly a greenhorn in the beginning, she dedicated herself to learning as much as possible about this invisible wound. She spent countless hours visiting day centers, neuropsychologists, and speaking directly to veterans. Leslie’s smile is infectious, her passion is obvious, and her motives are full of sincerity and caring.
“While most of us saw Leslie in the forefront, her partner Stephanie was quite often behind the scenes. After seeing the final production in Portsmouth, it was obvious that Stephanie’s theatrical production talents are immense. When you put two amazing people together on a project like Make Sure It’s Me, the results change lives.
“Thank you ACT ONE for your tireless efforts on Make Sure It’s Me, and for helping to break down the barriers caused by Traumatic Brain Injury in New Hampshire.”
We are deeply thankful to BIANH for this recognition, and for their support throughout the implementation of this successful performance outreach series. We look forward to continuing to serve our state in the seasons to come, in various ways. So stay tuned!