American Place Theatre, Inc.

Rating: 5 stars   14 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture

Location: 630 9th Avenue Suite 809 New York NY 10036 USA

Mission: LITERATURE TO LIFE advances literacy in American communities by producing theatre-based programs of the highest quality for under-served audiences.
Results: Literature to Life provides 5,000 hours of creative education instruction and 220 performances of high-quality theatre to 20,000 students across America annually. Following a Literature to Life performance, 85% of students want to read or re-read the book, and after a Literature to Life in-school Residency, over 90% of teachers report a positive impact on students’ critical thinking, cultural awareness, and reading comprehension. Literature to Life provides 5,000 hours of creative education instruction and 220 performances of high-quality theatre to 30,000 students across America annually. 70% of the schools served by The American Place Theatre in past years qualified as Title 1 schools meaning that a vast majority of our student participants live below the poverty level where a family of four makes less than $22,000 annually.
Target demographics: Underserved students (ages 7 and up) in the New York Metro are including Title 1 schools, charter schools, community colleges, and alternative schools. Rural and urban community and educational audiences in all 50 states.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 20,000 plus
Geographic areas served: New York Metro Area and Nationwide
Programs: Literature to Life Performances and in-school Residency workshops engage participants in a deep and meaningful exploration of the world of the book. Themes of the curriculum approach English, Social Studies, Character Education and Theatre subject areas. Professional Development Workshops provide interactive training to pre-service and in-service educators. Sessions use the Literature to Life to bring classroom content to life. (For a complete exploration of, and explanation of, these program visit www.americanplacetheatre.org.)

2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

Your show was amazing and I would not have expected that from a one man show. The actor was especially amazing because I didn't think that he would be able to memorize a quarter of the book as he did. And it was amazing how bring the book to life and put suck emotion behind each character. I recently attended the Literature to Life performance with my school M.s.118 William Niles Pace academy, and it was a spectacular performance and we were wondering if you would consider doing the rest of the book as another performance, we would really appreciate if you could do that.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

This was amazing because i really learned a lot about the book and the way the characters actually act.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would not make any changes because the performances are perfect.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I was an artistic intern for the Literature to Life program of The American Place Theatre. Associate Artistic Director, Elise Thoron, actor Elvis Nolasco, co-artistic intern Katherine McGee, and I spent endless hours working together on the adaptation of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Díaz, for stage. With an occasional meeting with Wynn Handman, the organization’s Artistic Director and Co-Founder, we completed the semester with an awe-inspiring adaptation of Wao for student viewing everywhere. Working meticulously with a novel that focused so much on the Dominican Republic (DR), “We come to understand the culture of fear and violence that has resulted from Trujillo’s 30+ years dictatorship of the Dominican Republic, and the importance of facing fear with love.” I knew that I had to see the country for myself.
Everyday when I arrived at the office, I encountered an inspired, enthusiastic staff. I was greeted with smiles and inquiry, and knew that everyone there was deeply committed to their goals of educational outreach, and providing an environment for creative discovery and the development of the future for our field. We were constantly asking new questions and broadening our perspectives (not only in this field, but also in life!).

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing student reactions, feedback, and teacher support. Additionally, it is clear that artists and arts educators enjoy working for this organization.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

provide them with a constant source of funding.

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Rating: 5 stars  

The New York Public Library's Division of Teaching & Learning has partnered with American Place Theater, and plans to do so more in the future. The way they make classic works of literature relevant to students' lives, and the PD they provide to help teachers feel comfortable incorporating theater into their classroom instruction are invaluable.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Partnering to provide PD for NYC teachers and theater experiences for classroom students.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

make more of them!

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am a high school ELA teacher at the HS for Enterprise, Business, and Technology. Once of the courses I teach for seniors is a Drama-Based English class, so I set up a field trip to see Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas and The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. Both works were converted into one man shows that are absolutely amazing!!! It is difficult for one person to carry an entire performance, but both the actor and director in each piece blew my students away with their talents. Not only that, the American Place Theatre provided a teacher’s guide to help prepare my students for the shows. Therefore, they were curious and excited to see how the events in the novel would translate onto the stage. Both tales take place in and around the tri-state area and are about a Hispanic male. As a result, it was easy for many of my students to relate to the stories from their books. For many of my students, this was also their first experience with seeing a live performance of a play, and I am thrilled to say that they now claim to love theatre as a result!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

After seeing the shows, my students wrote their own monologues and performed them for the class. Many of my students were inspired to write from a personal place after being so moved by what they saw onstage. Three of those students have shared their interest in performing competing with their monologues for The Humanities Fair this Spring. I look forward to watching their performances grow from now till then.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

If it were possible to make the shows free, that would be wonderful. Our lacking budget meant that my students had to pay for their tickets, and I wish they didn't have to do that. However, I know that is very difficult to do.

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Rating: 5 stars  

My husband and I attended “The Things They Carried” and we really enjoyed it. We felt it was a very interesting choice for a subject matter and the acting and production value was excellent. My husband is not a big theater buff, but he really loved this show. Afterwards, we actually purchased the book to read. I think the American Place Theater did a wonderful job and I really look forward to seeing more productions in the future.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my awareness of the subject matter. There is so much focus on historical fact about the war in school that using literature to focus on the soldier's perspective was very enlightening. I found the talk back session after the show to be excellent.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not change anything.

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

I had the great fortune of being able to witness firsthand the wonderful work that American Place Theatre contributes to the theatrical community. After seeing a preview of a new piece, I was amazed at the response of the young people and their teachers... how engaged and invested they became in the literary work, due in large part to the theatrical presentation. With outstanding teaching artists at the helm, as well as intuitive playwrights, directors, and actors, American Place Theatre is a vital force in keeping literature and the theatre alive and well in New York and elsewhere.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

When talking about the professional theatre to young people, I've been able to showcase an immediate, first rate example of the beauty and power of live theatre.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would expand to multiple person casts to add variety.

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

The vision of Wynn Handman and the mission of the Literature to Life Program is unsurpassed. The program has offered a powerful effect on our community in the last four years. The exceptional standard of Literature to Life offers such believable workmanship that audience members are convinced they have encountered the actual people of these stories- not actors playing roles on a stage. Experieing such quality has not only opened to them the gift of literature, but has created a new appreciation and interest in another art form- theatre. Audience members that never enjoyed reading have been introduced to a new world through one voice, one story,one experience, one vision. I have witnessed students with limited interest in any subject
sit spell bound because of the gifts and commitment of this team. They have the abilitity of bring you into the work and encoutering the story in a gripping way.
The roster of books and stories vary significantly- but in each production the consistency is dependable, the experience is powerful and the effect is life changing.
Thank you for investing your lives in a program that truly makes a difference. The seeds you are planting do live far beyond the initial planting.
Our encounter with the first of these programs only created a craving for more. It is educational tool like no other. It brings enjoyment and value like no other. It has strength that opens worlds like no other.
May your vision find resource to fulfill it's greatest dreams. Truly you have brought change to our world for good

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

yes through numerous encounters with their work

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

provide resource for additional exposure to underserved communities

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

I love working with the American Place Theatre. The dedication that this company has to literacy and the arts is outstanding. The company truly works as a star ensemble cast. It is a pleasure to be able to work with such talented people.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

teaching their methods and pedagogy.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Say that more people need to know about them! They are such an asset to this city!

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Rating: 5 stars  

The Literature to Life Program works! As a result of this curriculum-based theatrical performance, 80% of the kids end up voluntarily reading books! The result is nothing short of ASTOUNDING! Functional literacy is fundamental to our democratic process. Functional literacy is critical to personal success and vibrant communities. Literature to Life stands out among arts programs, literacy programs and works in schools that are marginalized and under-served...not just with "motivated" audiences. Please attend one of their performances and be inspired...you will come away more optimistic that you have found a real solution to challenges we face in public education. Alan A.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Performances for kids and adults, worked with Board of Trustees and the Satff.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Give them an annual program budget of $5mil.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

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Rating: 5 stars  

I was fortunate to be invited to an Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) showcase of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao on 1/8/11 with my 19 year old sister-in-law and her friend. We all loved this professionally staged verbatim adaptation of this work. As a college instructor myself seeing it with college students, the superb actor and moderator brought to life this new story for us and sparked a great deal of reflection and discovery for all three of us after the show.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my approach to literature and how important work produced like this can increase appreciation and interest.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

n't change a thing!

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

How did you learn about this organization?

Through an APT management staff member.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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