In October, Phoenix House launched a new partnership with the Stella Adler Studio of Acting. For two hours every week, residents of the Phoenix House Career Academy in Brooklyn will receive training from professional actor and Stella Adler Outreach Director, Tommy Demenkoff, and visiting Conservatory students from around the world.
Therapeutic Value of the Arts
Phoenix House has been working with Tommy on the West Side Story Project (WSSP), a grant administered by the U.S. Department of Justice. Under Tommy’s guidance, Career Academy clients and participants from the New York City Police Department explore themes of the musical West Side Story in order to build better relationships and bridge cultural differences.
Residents at the Career Academy love participating in the WSSP; this is the first opportunity many have had to express themselves through performance and uncover previously hidden talents. Engaging in the arts has proven therapeutic value and we are thrilled that our partnership with the Stella Adler Studio will allow us to expand these types of services for our clients.
A Perfect Partnership
Since its founding in New York City in 1949, thousands of actors have received training from the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, where they were taught that an important purpose of theater is “to uplift humanity.” In keeping with that belief, the Stella Adler Outreach Division is committed to providing free training to individuals who would otherwise not receive it and empowering young people through acting.
The Stella Adler Studio’s philosophy on theater is very much in keeping with Phoenix House’s philosophy of treatment, which stresses the importance of community and giving back.
Mischa, a Conservatory student from Australia, is one of the individuals who has volunteered to join the Career Academy residents in their sessions. “Volunteering for the Stella Adler Studio of Acting Outreach Division at the Phoenix House Career Academy was absolutely inspiring…The group of guys we worked with was so respectful, talented and the difference we made for them was tangible. I can’t wait to continue my involvement,” she remarked.
The group will be working on a series of short plays to be performed on-site at the Career Academy and also by invitation in one of the Stella Adler Studio’s theaters in Manhattan in spring 2013.
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