Letter from the Artistic Director

November 29, 2010

“I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for.” Thornton Wilder

If you are reading this, you are in one way or another supporting an artistic organization that seeks means to set young people free to live meaningful lives. Thanks to you, hundreds of young people participate in an environment whose emphasis is not careerism, not the superficiality of the celebrity culture that seems to corrode age-honored values, but human vitality and connectedness to community, culture, art, and nature. The premise of all the work you help facilitate by supporting the Stella Adler Studio and the Art of Acting Studio is based on the insight that growth as an actor and growth as a human being are synonymous. We teach students that theater art must be about something beyond art. It must be about humanity. It must be about life. I repeat myself when I quote our mission “to create an environment that nurtures theater artists so that they value humanity, their own and others, as their first priority, while bringing art and education to the broader community”. I repeat myself because I want to make crystal clear what your generosity helps to generate.

To say thank you seems an inadequate gesture based on your generosity. A promise is more along the lines of what is called for, or a vow. So here it goes. We promise that we will continue to fight for a world informed by values that much of our media seems to reject. We vow to nurture young people to develop ways and means to nurture their humanity and to make a gift of that humanity to the world outside of themselves. We offer a solemn but joyful proclamation, inspired by your support, to bring this spirit to a diverse population that includes students in the NYU in New York and professional Conservatory programs on both coasts as well as low-income urban youth. We cannot do this without you. The gift of your support bolsters us for the fight ahead. Our gratitude makes that fight both a pleasure and a privilege. I think of it more as a dance than armed combat. So thank you, indeed, and see you on the dance floor.


Tom Oppenheim

Posted in Tom's Blog


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