THE AWAKENINGS PROJECT
The Awakenings Project's first foray into the theater involved an exhibit of artwork during the Fourth Wall Productions performance of the play, "Standing On My Knees," by John Olive, at Wright Junior College in May 2000.
In 2003, Awakenings members attended a team-buildingworkshop with The Second City in Chicago. Second City's outreach director, Dionna Griffin-Irons, led us through exercises called "Zip, Zap, Zop," "The Hitchhiker," mirroring, and a series of scenes called "Wheres." Dionna came out to our studio in Elgin, on April 4, 2009 to work with us again. It was a blast, and a blast from the past for some of us!
In 2004, Awakenings Drama helped four artists apply to the casting company for parts in "The Weatherman," which Robert Lundin's old friend Rosemary was working on. They had been in the same class at college, now she had become a set decorator for feature length films. She asked Bob to, "come down to the set. Check it out. Get your friends to be extras." What an idea. Of course! Why not get some Awakenings people to be extras? It would be a perfect project for Awakenings Drama. A perfect fit. We took their head shots, helped them fill out applications. Two were called in. They were very excited; we were very excited. If you blink during the movie, you might miss them, but they were in it, and they even got paid!
In 2005, the Awakenings Drama Program began working with John Dooley's Theater for Mental Health. TMH decided in 2012 to fully merge with Awakenings Drama.
We know that people with mental illnesses have many talents. And we can share those talents with the rest of the community at large through theater. There are also possibilities of becoming involved with psychodrama, a therapeutic technique of improvising and discussing scenes relevant to personal issues.
In both 2008 and 2009, Awakenings again teamed up with some more established theater groups for some exciting new opportunities.First, on October 10, 2008, Good Samaritan Hospital, Downers Grove, Illinois "Cheryl's Dreaming Big" performed Erasing the Distance. Awakenings exhibited alongside them. Then on May 14,2009, Flourish Studios, now known as Studio for Change, Chicago, we had an exhibit with "Erasing the Distance" ( formerly known as "Cheryl's Dreaming Big") as they introduced people to their new theatrical productions for 2009 that shed light on mental illness in their Spring Showcase. Awakenings had art on exhibit, and our internationally acclaimed Awakenings Review journals on sale.
In May/June 2009, at the famed Steppenwolf Merle Reskin Garage Theater, Chicago at the invitation of Tara Mallen, the women of Awakenings had artwork on display through the end of the play, "The Walls," about women and madness and the link to creative genius.
On February 11th, 2011, we took a road trip to Champaign-Urbana, where 3 student theater groups put on plays, and donated the profits to The Awakenings Project. Invited by producer, Liz Rice, rather than be the passive recipients of such a gift, we decided to have a presence at the plays, entitled, “In Between Dreams.” There was a great group of Thespians, and a large crowd, composed mainly of students, families and friends. We were well received, and we even sold quite a few of our journals, The Awakenings Review. We have continued the connection, even though Liz Rice graduated and currently works at the Goodman Theater. In 2012, we were invited back by producer, Mark Pajor, and in 2013, we have been invited again by producer, Casey Thiel.
February 10th, 2012 -- Champaign, Illinois Awakenings Drama and ‘By Any Other Name’... a group of theater companies, all Registered Student Organizations, held a charity event for Awakenings…
TOOK PLACE AT: University Place Christian Church
February 8, 2013-- Champaign, Illinois "For the last two years we have held a fund raiser show to raise money for your cause. This year we are looking to perform this 'Charity Show' on February 8th in 2013, and would love to continue our partnership with The Awakenings Project." Casey Thiel of the New Revels Players. Awakenings Drama and ‘Art for Art's Sake’... a group of theater companies, all Registered Student Organizations, held a charity event for Awakenings…But this one was different from the previous 2 years, in that this time, one of the short plays they produced and directed was "The Game," by Robert Lundin.
TOOK PLACE AT: Greg Hall Auditorium on U of I campus
All were exceptional pieces of theater from the Registered Student Organizations, named above.
You can read an article about the Charity Show from the Daily Illini Newspaper, but "reader beware," there is an incorrect description under the photo, identifying members of The Awakenings Project as the performers. Those are actually U of I students.
If you are interested in finding out more about Awakenings Drama, or helping us to develop it further, please Contact Us and indicate your area of interest.
The Awakenings Project is a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) tax-deductible nonprofit charity.
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