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Veterans Tell Their Stories in OC Arts Iinitiative
Arts Orange County, the countywide nonprofit arts council, has announced a new program it is offering in collaboration with Chance Theater, an innovative local theater company, and Veterans First, a local veteran’s service agency.
Beginning on October 2, 2015, and funded through a $9,600 grant from the California Arts Council’s pilot Veterans Initiative in the Arts, Orange County veterans will be invited to participate in a free five-week theatre workshop. It will culminate in a free public performance at Chance Theater @ Bette Aitken theater arts Center in Anaheim on Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11.
Through this program, Arts Orange County, Chance Theater and Veterans First intend to enable veterans to use theater to talk about their experiences and to share with their families, fellow veterans, and members of the public a better understanding of the life of a veteran--its challenges as well as its points of pride.
“Arts Orange County sees this program as an opportunity to help address some of the issues reported in The State of the American Veteran: The Orange County Veterans Study, released earlier this year by the Orange County Community Foundation,” commented Richard Stein, ArtsOC’s Executive Director. “The program is intended to be both an aesthetically fulfilling and therapeutic experience for the participating veterans. Chance Theater is uniquely qualified to conduct these workshops as Veterans First is in its ability to connect us to Orange County’s veterans community.”
“Our company believes that theatre is a transformative tool that contributes to a more compassionate, connected, and creative community. Theatre is like a gym for empathy; a place where we can go to build up the muscles of compassion, to practice listening, understanding and engaging with people that are not just like ourselves,” commented Oanh Nguyen, Artistic Director of Chance Theater. “Through this new partnership we hope to assist Veterans First with their mission of restoring dignity to our veterans. The opportunity to work with these men and women and give them a forum for expression and self-discovery will aid our veterans on their path to self-healing and personal empowerment.”
ABOUT THE PARTNERS
Veterans First is an organization that has been addressing the needs of veterans since 1971, and is among the best-respected operations of its kind in the region. Veterans First currently operates 10 permanent and transitional housing facilities at a capacity of 122 total beds for employable and disabled veterans within 3 Northern Orange County cities (Anaheim, Garden Grove and Santa Ana). Additionally, Veterans First in the summer of 2011 began operating the county’s only transitional housing facility for unaccompanied homeless female veterans. Along with housing, Veterans First provides essential services through its service center located in Santa Ana. The service center is the first stop for homeless interested in coming into its program for housing or for those at-risk veterans and their families who are in need of basic services or needs to get them through.
Chance Theater is proud to be one of the leading ensemble-driven theatre companies in Southern California. The Chance has won five Ovation Awards (including two for Best Production of a Musical--Intimate Theater for Triassic Parq -- The Musical and Jerry Springer: The Opera). The Chance also received an LADCC Award for its reimagined revival of West Side Story. The Anaheim City Council recently named Chance Theater “the official resident theater company of Anaheim”. Twice named “Outstanding Arts Organization” by Arts Orange County, Chance Theater is also a recipient of the LADCC’s Polly Warfield Award for Excellence. Founded in 1999, Chance Theater is focused on its goal of being Orange County’s premiere mid-size contemporary theater by contributing to a more compassionate, connected, and creative community. As a constituent member of Theatre Communications Group, Network of Ensemble Theaters, and the LA Stage Alliance, Chance Theater continues to bring national attention to the Southern California and Orange County theater scenes.
Arts Orange County is celebrating its 20th year as the leader in building appreciation of, participation in and support for the arts and arts education in Orange County, California. Its flagship programs and services include the annual Imagination Celebration festival of arts for families and children, the online countywide arts calendar SparkOC.com, and the annual Creative Edge Lecture on the role of creativity in all human endeavors. Additionally, ArtsOC is the leader in providing arts consulting services and project management to Orange County arts organizations, local government, business and the education community.