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Thurman E. Scott
Artistic Director, Executive Producer and Founder

145 West 28th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10001
Dear Friend December 10, 2011

Greetings from the Actors Theatre Workshop! As we approach the Hanukkah and Christmas holidays and reflect upon the many traditions and ideals that are the bedrock of our families and communities, I'm very happy to share with you some of the important milestones we've achieved in the last year in the words and images below.

But I also feel that it's important for me to recognize you and a very powerful and strong ideal that seems to be running through our society today. We all have a story. Our beliefs are being challenged, our individuality is sometimes being redefined, and our commitments are reawakening. One of our charges as a non-profit arts and education institution is to examine the foundation of what we live by each day, and the emerging new ideals and currents that are influencing and leading our society.

So I am very happy to share with you here a new essay entitled The Power of Dreaming that I wrote as a special holiday gift for you. The messages in this essay are at the core of all the work we do in our classes, programs and productions at ATW. I hope that you'll be inspired and uplifted by these words about the power of dreaming. Dreams beckon all of us -- individuals, families, communities and nations -- to take the soulful, spiritual journey to develop our unique gifts so that we may challenge and accept the new awakening dawn of tomorrow.

And now, please join with me as we travel on the journey of some of our accomplishments in 2011...

During a time of great challenges all across our land, ATW worked with a committed spirit as we ran our innovative and successful programs and productions. Thank you so much for your support and involvement, which allowed us to continue our education program for homeless children, make important strides in our Israeli and West Bank drama and conflict resolution program, and open a new original theatre production that commemorated the 9/11 attacks and examined the insights we've gained as a community since then.

"Compassion" -- a new Video Documentary by BYU TV

I'm very proud to report that as a reflection of the positive work we're doing in the community I was selected to be profiled on BYU TV, the professional television network of Brigham Young University. BYU researched individuals all across America, and sent a film crew to ATW to create a wonderful film documentary they entitled "Compassion" which aired on their network.

I was cited for leading an organization and creating programs, classes and productions that provide children, families and individuals with an opportunity to examine their individual struggles, and the tools to find a common ground of existence and a more resourceful and hopeful future.

Compassion: A New Video Documentary by BYU TV

This was a great honor and I would like to invite you to watch the short documentary that BYU filmed by clicking on the video to the left. You and my committed staff truly deserve the accolades for this honor. Because I am your stand-in -- without your helpful hands I would not be able to run the programs, lift up the ideals, and project the positive images that represent all of us.

Changing lives in Israel and the West Bank

I speak in the documentary about having compassion and forgiveness for ourselves and others, because this is how we will survive together. This important message is at the core of our Israel and West Bank Drama and Conflict Resolution Program, which aims to create true change by changing Israelis' and Palestinians' perceptions of themselves, each other, and the conflict - - thus supporting peace and justice for both sides.

This initiative serving our brothers and sisters in the Middle East is an extension of the successful work we've done for the last 20 years with children and families living in temporary housing. The program has been quite effective in addressing some of the trauma and resulting emotional and psychological needs that both Israelis and Palestinians deal with as a result of the years of conflict between these two peoples.

Class in Jaffa

We took important steps this year to further implement the project, from developing linkages with individuals and organizations in Israel and the West Bank, to completing due diligence on the right structure for our production and film crews in order to best capture and tell the story of these two peoples.

This is an extremely worthy cause and we invite you to support this effort in whatever way you can. Provide financial support. Open doors and provide access to other people that may resonate with this work. Get directly involved as we put the program into action to help individuals move past their trauma by giving them tangible tools to create change. Please call me directly at ATW at 212.947.1386 to share your ideas.

Strengthening Hope after 9/11 with an inspiring documentary and new theatre piece

In September we opened a new multi-media production Voices on 9/11: From Rage to Rebirth encompassing a film documentary of a special Builders of the New World session we did ten years ago with the homeless children we serve, and a new theatre piece that commemorated the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

In the days immediately following the attacks, we decided that there was no better way to teach our next generation of children about the complexities of life then to explore how we as individuals, families and a community could confront 9/11. In a special Builders of the New World session I instructed the children to try to capture the creative, spiritual essence of 9/11, and to find new approaches to confront this atrocity.

Builders of the New World 9/11

The results were profound. The children started by accepting that a great injustice and tremendous evil had been done. But they did not turn to anger or hatred. They said we should meet hatred with understanding. They wrote stories and envisioned a future in which they saw beyond the tragedy, and urged the adults to overcome our deep pain with forgiveness and love.

This was how Dr. Martin Luther King told us to overcome the madness of racism. And I saw that by teaching the children to see beyond this act, we were doing our part to help build a more hopeful future.

Reflecting on this powerful message from the children and what we as a nation have learned in the 10 years since the attacks, I spent the month of August working in a creative process with ATW's ensemble acting company and members of the NYC community to develop and write a new theatre piece.

In penetrating original monologues, our performers led the audience on a journey from the hellish, frightening images of fire and destruction that America had experienced to the magical light of individual heroism and sheroism that reflected the far reaching effects of human conflict and our common search for truth.

Darkness and light...

It is important for us to reexamine this issue, because sometimes when we live through darkness it is all we can see. History teaches us that when we struggle to live through cataclysmic events, the heroic and sometimes horrific images that emerge can give us a new philosophical perspective -- that we can overcome and survive whatever struggle we may encounter on our path of life.

And when we embrace the tradition that says light will come in the morning then darkness becomes a momentary shadow and has no lasting effect.

So during this holiday season of light, treat yourselves with kindness, compassion, and love. Know that you are special and that nothing can truly dash your spirit or your commitment to continue the journey.

What your support really means to our shared mission and vision...

Your support is rooted in the knowledge that we represent each other. When we incorporated The Actors Theatre Workshop in 1990 we were guided by three major ideas - - hope, compassion and innovation. We had hope for the future, compassion for others and innovative creative and education techniques to make that vision a reality.

We incorporated ATW at a time when government support for non-profits was being cut, but we saw the creation of our new non-profit as an opportunity. Donations organize the community. Grass-roots support from individuals means we all have a stake in and are a part of a vision. Having our citizens participate by supporting the causes they believed in seemed to us to be a way to generate awareness among the community and to bring us together through our shared support of the vision.

Your vital and very necessary tax-deductible donation helps us to keep our programs running and our operations going. But your donation goes far beyond finances. We ask you to contribute because you have a stake in this work. Our programs are rooted in the vision of America -- diverse people from all walks of life, picking themselves up by the bootstraps, working hard and with intelligence, and making it happen. That is an American ideal and it is who we are. We have survived with this philosophy and with your help, we will continue to do the work and uphold our shared vision.

Thank you for your good thoughts and bright outlook for yourself, your families, The Actors Theatre Workshop and for America.


Thurman E. Scott

Thurman E. Scott
Artistic Director, Executive Producer and Founder


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P.S. Support our annual Builders of the New World holiday party!!

Builders of the New World Holiday Party

Support our important work with children from The Regent Family Living Center, a shelter for families that have lost their homes. At our Annual Holiday Party, we'll enjoy a hot holiday meal from a top New York restaurant, an uplifting creative class, and then gather around our spectacular Christmas tree to open presents selected especially for each child to brighten his or her holiday.

The Actors Theatre Workshop, Inc. | 145 West 28th Street, 3 Fl | New York, NY 10001