Arts in the Armed Forces

Arts in the Armed Forces, Inc. (AITAF) is a non-profit based in Brooklyn, New York that brings arts programming to active-duty service members, veterans, military support staff of the United States and their families around the world free of charge.

Arts in the Armed Forces
Aitaf logo.png
AbbreviationAITAF
FounderAdam Driver
Co-Founder
Joanne Tucker
Executive Director
Lindsay Miserandino
Program Director
Erica Newhouse
Program Coordinator
Brian Lepak
Key people
MaryKathryn Kopp (Communications Associate)
Websiteaitaf.org

[1] The organization was founded by actors Adam Driver and Joanne Tucker in 2006.[2][3] The non-profit became an official incorporation in 2008.

AITAF serves all branches of the military at US installations domestically and abroad. They choose content that features diverse themes, ages, ethnicities and experiences.[1] Following each of AITAF’s events, the artists interact with the audience through a question and answer session.[1]

AITAF’s goal is "to use the powerfully emotional shared experience of the arts to start conversations capable of bridging the divides between military and civilian, service member and family member, the world of the arts and the world of practical action."[1]

The Bridge AwardsEdit

 
Adam Driver and Vinnie Lyman, 2018 Bridge Award Recipient (Photo: Jenn Emerling)[4]

In 2018, The Bridge Award for Playwriting was established in honor of AITAF's tenth anniversary with the purpose of recognizing an emerging playwright of exceptional talent within the United States military. The biennial (as of 2020) award consists of a $10,000 prize, and an AITAF produced reading of the winning work.

In addition to bringing world-class theater to the military, AITAF is committed to supporting and sharing the talents of those who serve. This Award offers a deserving current military service member or veteran artist important connections with the theater community and access to developmental resources, helping to facilitate a deeper understanding and more active dialogue between military and civilian communities.

The Bridge Award for Playwriting winner is chosen by a selection committee, judged each year by a notable playwright. Past judges include Pulitzer Prize winners Suzan-Lori Parks and Tony Kushner.[5]

2018 Bridge Award Winner: WAR STORIES by Vinnie Lyman (Army Veteran)[6]

 
Shairi Engle, 2019 Bridge Award Recipient (Photo: Giles Clarke)[7]

2019 Bridge Award Winner: TAMPONS, DEAD DOGS, AND OTHER DISPOSABLE THINGS by Shairi Engle (Air Force Veteran)[8]

2020 Bridge Award Winner: LOCAL GODS by Anton Sattler (Marine Corp Veteran)


The Bridge Award for Screenwriting was established in 2020. This biennial Award is open to all persons who are currently serving or have served in the United States military, regardless of age, experience, or background. This Award seeks to identify and encourage talented screenwriters/filmmakers from the military community. First time screenwriters are encouraged to apply, and the Award is particularly interested in elevating and celebrating underrepresented voices and stories. The Award gives aspiring filmmakers with a military background the resources and mentorship to advance their visions and refine their work. It encourages members of the military community to conceive of themselves as artists and to tell their important and powerful stories.

This Award was created as a cinematic corollary to AITAF’s successful Bridge Award for Playwriting

Student Veteran Internship ProgramEdit

In the summer of 2018, AITAF launched an internship program for student veterans. AITAF is committed to providing work and learning opportunities to veterans currently enrolled full-time in a college or university. By offering a summer housing stipend comparable to what a student might receive as part of the GI Bill, AITAF aims to create a rigorous, competitive program that offers a unique opportunity for a summer intern to relocate to New York City for the duration of the internship.

They hire a new student veteran every summer, spring, and fall.

2018 Summer Intern: Daní Rodriguez (Marine Corps Veteran)

2019 Spring Intern: Shyendra Chandrasena (Coast Guard Veteran)

2019 Summer Intern: Brian Lepak (Marine Corps Veteran)

2020 Spring Intern: Cole Smith (Air Force Veteran)

In the mediaEdit

AITAF was the subject of a short documentary produced by Vice News in 2015. The documentary chronicles the organization's first trip to perform in the Middle East at Camp Arifjan, a United States Army installation in Kuwait.[9][10][11]

In 2016, Driver gave a TED Talk that discussed the non-profit at length and which ended with an AITAF reading.[12]

Following the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, fans of the franchise donated over $90,000 to the charity.[13] Driver released a video thanking fans for their donations.[14]

ProgrammingEdit

Full List of AITAF's Programming[15]
Event Event Location Event Year Artists Involved
Contemporary American Monologues Camp Pendleton (Oceanside, CA) 2008 Jon Batiste, David Denman, Adam Driver, Gabriel Ebert, Laura Linney, Tracie Thoms, David Robaire, Joe Saylor
Contemporary American Monologues Playwrights Horizons (New York, NY) 2009 Michael Sexton (Director); Lauren Ambrose, Francois Battiste, Eric Bogosian, Michael Chernus, Saidah Ekulona, Gibson Frazier, Ron Cephas Jones, Phil Kuehn, Tim Blake Nelson, Jesse J. Perez, Jay O. Sanders, Lili Taylor, Joanne Tucker, Debra Winger, Glenn Zaleski
Contemporary American Monologues American Airlines Theatre (New York, NY) 2010 David Cromer (Director); Lauren Ambrose, Jon Batiste, Francois Battiste, Eric Bogosian, Louis Cancelmi, Reg. E Cathey, Amari Cheatom, Nick Choksi, Adam Driver, Saidah Ekulona, Gibson Frazier, Phil Kuehn, Darren Pettie, Jay O. Sanders, Susan Sarandon, Joanne Tucker, Dianne Wiest, Joe Saylor, John Patrick Shanley
Contemporary American Monologues American Airlines Theatre (New York, NY) 2011 Michael Greif (Director); Jon Batiste, Francois Battiste, Vivenne Benesch, Marylouise Burke, Christopher Donahue, Adam Driver, Saidah Ekulona, John Glover, Renee Goldsberry, Zach Grenier, Ron Cephas Jones, Phil Kuehn, Jesse J. Perez, Joe Saylor, David Schwimmer, Peter Scolari, John Patrick Shanley, Tracie Thoms, Joanne Tucker, Harris Yulin
Contemporary American Monologues Lucille Lortel Theatre (New York, NY) 2012 F. Murray Abraham, Francois Battiste, Marylouise Burke, Michael Daves, Eisa Davis, Adam Driver, Zach Grenier, Jake Gyllenhaal, William Jackson Harper, Frances McDormand, Michael Shannon, David Strathairn, Tracie Thoms, Joanne Tucker
Contemporary American Monologues American Airlines Theatre (New York, NY) 2013 Francois Battiste, Eric Bogosian, Marylouise Burke, Michael Daves, Eisa Davis, Adam Driver, Natasha Lyonne, Jesse J. Perez, Reg Rogers, Amy Ryan, David Schwimmer, Michael Shannon, Joanne Tucker, Samira Wiley
Contemporary American Monologues Ramstein Air Base (Germany) 2013 Reed Birney, Desmin Borges, Michael Chernus, Gary Cole, Adam Driver, Josh Hamilton, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Raven Symoné, Tracie Thoms, Joanne Tucker, Sheldon Woodley
Contemporary American Monologues Walter Reed Memorial Center (Washington, D.C) 2013 Marylouise Burke, Reg E. Cathey, Michael Chernus, Gary Cole, Erin Cummings, Adam Driver, Donetta Lavinia Grays, Natalie Knepp, Reg Rogers, Paul Sparks, Tracie Thoms, Joanne Tucker
OUR LADY OF 121st STREET by Stephen Adly Guirgis Studio 54 (New York, NY) 2014 Sam Gold (Director); Francois Battiste, Desmin Borges, Guy Boyd, Phillip James Brannon, Salvatore Inzerillo, Justin Long, Adrian Martinez, Amy Ryan, Armando Riesco, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Joanne Tucker, Samira Wiley
Contemporary American Monologues Camp Arifjan (Kuwait) 2015 Adam Driver, Saidah Ekulona, Gibson Frazier, Natasha Lyonne, Kristine Nielsen, Armando Riesco, Jay. O Sanders, Joanne Tucker
LOBBY HERO by Kenneth Lonergan Studio 54 (New York, NY) 2015 Mark Brokaw (Director); Francois Battiste, Rachel Brosnahan, Adam Driver, Corey Stoll
TAPE by Stephen Belber Fort Hood (Killeen, TX) 2016 Stephen Belber (Director); Jessica Collins, Justin Long, Pablo Schreiber
LOBBY HERO by Kenneth Lonergan Osan Air Base

(Pyeongtaek, South Korea)

2016 Stephen Belber (Director); Adam Driver, Francois Battiste, Dominic Fumusa, Rachel Brosnahan
Contemporary American Monologues United States Military Academy (West Point, NY) 2016 Lila Neugebauer (Director); Marylouise Burke, Anna Chlumsky, Chris Henry Coffey, Jackie Cruz, Saidah Ekulona, Bill Heck, William Jackson Harper, Shane McRae, Tony Patano, Reg Rogers
TAPE by Stephen Belber Studio 54 (New York, NY) 2016 Stephen Belber (Director); Adam Driver, Keri Russell, Pablo Schreiber
JESUS HOPPED THE A TRAIN by Stephen Adly Guirgis Yokota Air Force Base (Japan) 2017 Leah Gardiner (Director); Christopher Abbott, Victor Almanzar, Anthony Ramos, Andre Royo, Samantha Soule
Contemporary American Monologues U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis, Maryland) 2017 Patricia McGregor (Director); Maechi Aharanwa, Frankie Alvarez, Kelly AuCoin, Marylouise Burke, Jack DiFalco, Brandon Dirden, Justin Long, Marisol Miranda, Tonya Pinkins, Peter Scolari, Kristen Sieh
JESUS HOPPED THE A TRAIN by Stephen Adly Guirgis Industry City (Brooklyn, NY) 2017 Lucie Tiberghien (Director); Michael Chernus, Kathryn Erbe, Lawrence Gilliard, Bobby Moreno, Matt Servitto
TAPE by Stephen Belber MCB Quantico (Virginia) 2017 Carolyn Cantor (Director); Kieran Culkin, Ryan Eggold, Mamie Gummer
LOBBY HERO by Kenneth Lonergan Fort Hamilton (Brooklyn, NY) 2017 Lila Neugebauer (Director); Gabriel Ebert, William Jackson Harper, Michael Stahl-David, Grace Van Patten
LOBBY HERO by Kenneth Lonergan KMC Onstage (Kaiserslautern, Germany) 2017 Moritz von Stuelpnagel (Director); Rachel Brosnahan, Gideon Glick, Darren Goldstein, Korey Jackson
JESUS HOPPED THE A TRAIN by Stephen Adly Guirgis American Airlines Theatre (New York, NY) 2017 Daniel Sullivan (Director); Laurence Fishburne, Anthony Ramos, Mark Ruffalo, Joanne Tucker, David Zayas
TRUE WEST by Sam Shepard Bellows Air Force Station (Waimanalo, Hawaii) 2018 Stephen Belber (Director); Frances Conroy, Taye Diggs, David Harbour, Jimmi Simpson
TRUE WEST by Sam Shepard Marine Corps Base Hawaii (Kaneohe Bay, HI) 2018 Stephen Belber (Director); Frances Conroy, Taye Diggs, David Harbour, Jimmi Simpson
TRUE WEST by Sam Shepard Schofield Barracks (Honolulu, HI) 2018 Stephen Belber (Director); Frances Conroy, Taye Diggs, David Harbour, Jimmi Simpson
Film Screening: LOGAN LUCKY NB Coronado (San Diego, CA) 2018 Adam Driver
FENCES by August Wilson Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs, CO) 2018 Lileana Blain-Cruz (Director); Mamoudou Athie, Charlie Barnett, Leon Addison Brown, Tsebiyah Derry, Ray Anthony Thomas, Tracie Thoms, Mykelti Williamson
TOPDOG/UNDERDOG by Susan-Lori Parks Joint Base Charleston (Charleston, SC) 2018 Kip Fagan (Director); Corey Hawkins, Korey Jackson
Film Screening: JAWS Metrograph (New York, NY) 2018 Adam Driver, Steven Soderbergh
TRUE WEST by Sam Shepard Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (New Jersey) 2018 Trip Cullman (Director); Annie Golden, Keegan-Michael Key, Christian Slater, Paul Sparks
Contemporary American Monologues Rikers Island Veteran Housing Unit (Rikers Island, NY) 2018 Evan Cabnet (Director); Maechi Aharanwa, Trazana Beverly, Marylouise Burke, Michael Chernus, Gibson Frazier, Bobby Moreno, Peter Scolari, Roslyn Ruff, Joanne Tucker
1st Annual Bridge Award Reading: WAR STORIES by Vinnie Lyman The Shiva at The Public Theater (New York, NY) 2018 Kip Fagan (Director); Steven Boyer, Alex Flores, Motell Foster, Jake Hart, Alex Hurt, Brian Quijada, Joe Tippett
1st Annual Student Veteran Film Screening: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) Crosby Street Hotel (New York, NY) 2018 Adam Driver, Ben Stiller
TRUE WEST by Sam Shepard American Airlines Theatre (New York, NY) 2018 Sam Gold (Director); Marylouise Burke, Adam Driver, Peter Friedman, Michael Shannon
TRUE WEST by Sam Shepard USS Carl Vinson (San Diego, CA) 2018 Kip Fagan (Director); Betsy Aidem, Scott Cohen, Patch Darragh, Dominic Fumusa
TRUE WEST by Sam Shepard Fort Bliss (El Paso, TX) 2019 Amanda Charlton (Director); Patrick Fabian, Luke Kirby, Cameron Scoggins, Deborah Rush
FENCES by August Wilson United States Military Academy (West Point, NY) 2019 Patricia McGregor (Director); Jerome Preston Bates, Chris Chalk, Clark Johnson, Jasminn Johnson, Ezra Knight, Reynaldo Piniella, Sharon Washington
Contemporary American Monologues United States Disciplinary Barracks and Joint Regional Correctional Facility (Fort Leavenworth, KS) 2019 Joanne Tucker (Director); Carlo Albán, Charlie Barnett, Edmund Donovan, Robby Sella, Constance Shulman, Tracie Thoms, Joanne Tucker
TRUE WEST by Sam Shepard Fort George G. Meade (Anne Arundel County, MD) 2019 Oliver Butler (Director); Noah Bean, Reed Birney, Jeremy Bobb, Annie Golden
TRUE WEST by Sam Shepard Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center (Bridgeport, CA) 2019 Kip Fagan (Director); Alex Breaux, Darren Pettie, Rob Riggle, Dale Soules
TRUE WEST by Sam Shepard Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Endeavors

(San Antonio, TX)

2019 Oliver Butler (Director); L. Scott Caldwell, Chad L. Coleman, Chris Lowell, Michael James Shaw
LOBBY HERO by Kenneth Lonergan Joint Base Lewis-McChord (Tacoma, WA) 2019 Francois Battiste, Jeremy Bobb, Tracee Chimo, James Scully
Contemporary American Monologues Saint Albans VA Hospital 2019 Joanne Tucker (Director); Jack DiFalco, Korey Jackson, Jasminn Johnson, Robby Sella, Constance Shulman, Leah Walsh
2nd Annual Student Veteran Film Screening: The Report Alfred Lerner Hall, Columbia University (New York, NY) 2019 Eddy Moretti, Daniel J. Jones, Erica Newhouse, Brian Lepak (AITAF Intern)
2nd Annual Bridge Award Reading: TAMPONS, DEAD DOGS, AND OTHER DISPOSABLE THINGS by Shairi Engle The Shiva at The Public Theater (New York, NY) 2019 Lucie Tiberghien (Director); Jennifer Mudge, Darren Pettie
A RAISIN IN THE SUN by Lorraine Hansberry American Airlines Theatre (New York, NY) 2019 Patricia McGregor (Director), Mamoudou Athie, Dylan Baker, Asante Blackk, Colman Domingo, Ezra Knight, Nyambi Nyambi, Karen Pittman, Pauletta Washington, DeWanda Wise
LOBBY HERO by Kenneth Lonergan Camp Lemonnier (Djibouti, Africa) 2019 Joanne Tucker (Director), Kerry Bishé, Norbert Leo Butz, Chris Lowell, Michael James Shaw
Contemporary American Monologues United States Disciplinary Barracks and Joint Regional Correctional Facility (Fort Leavenworth, KS) 2020 Betsy Aidem (Director), Maechi Aharanwa, Scott Cohen, Michael Daves, Motell Foster, Dion Mucciacito, Erica Newhouse, Frank Pando
Virtual Film Screening: The Hustler Online 2020 Laurence Fishburne, Cole Smith (AITAF Intern)
Virtual Film Screening: True Romance Online 2020 Rob Riggle, Cole Smith (AITAF Intern)
Virtual Film Screening: It's a Wonderful Life Online 2020 Nnamdi Asomugha, Christopher Wolfe
Virtual Film Screening: Slap Shot Online 2020 Laura Linney, Joanne Tucker
Virtual Film Screening: The King of Comedy Online 2020 Michael Shannon, Cole Smith (AITAF Intern)
Virtual Film Screening: Paper Moon Online 2020 Tim Blake Nelson, Cole Smith (AITAF Intern)

List of previously artists involvedEdit

 
Adam Driver at Osan Air Base in 2016
A-D E-P Q-Z
Christopher Abbott

F. Murray Abraham

Maechi Aharanwa

Betsy Aidem

Carlo Albán

Victor Almanzar

Frankie Alvarez

Lauren Ambrose

Nnamdi Asomugha

Mamoudou Athie

Kelly AuCoin

Dylan Baker

Charlie Barnett

Jerome Preston Bates

Jonathan Batiste

Francois Battiste

Noah Bean

Robert Beitzel

Stephen Belber

Vivienne Benesch

Trazana Beverley

Reed Birney

Kerry Bishé

Asante Blackk

Lileana Blain-Cruz

Jeremy Bobb

Eric Bogosian

Desmin Borges

Guy Boyd

Steven Boyer

Phillip James Brannon

Alex Breaux

Mark Brokaw

Rachel Brosnahan

Leon Addison Brown

Marylouise Burke

Norbert Leo Butz

Evan Cabnet

L. Scott Caldwell

Louis Cancelmi

Carolyn Cantor

Reg E. Cathey

Chris Chalk

Amanda Charlton

Amari Cheatom

Michael Chernus

Tracee Chimo

Anna Chlumsky

Nick Choksi

Chris Henry Coffey

Scott Cohen

Gary Cole

Chad L. Coleman

Jessica Collins

Frances Conroy

David Cromer

Jackie Cruz

Kieran Culkin

Trip Cullman

Erin Cummings

Patch Darragh

Michael Daves

Eisa Davis

Tsebiyah Derry

Jack DiFalco

Taye Diggs

Brandon Dirden

David Denman

Colman Domingo

Christopher Donahue

Edmund Donovan

Adam Driver

Ryan Eggold

Gabriel Ebert

Kathryn Erbe

Saidah Ekulona

Patrick Fabian

Kip Fagan

Laurence Fishburne

Alex Flores

Motell Foster

Gibson Frazier

Peter Friedman

Dominic Fumusa

Leah Gardiner

Lawrence Gilliard

Gideon Glick

John Glover

Sam Gold

Annie Golden

Renée Goldsberry

Darren Goldstein

Donetta Lavinia Grays

Michael Greif

Zach Grenier

Jake Gyllenhaal

Mamie Gummer

Josh Hamilton

David Harbour

Corey Hawkins

Bill Heck

William Jackson Harper

Jake Hart

Alex Hurt

Salvatore Inzerillo

Korey Jackson

Clark Johnson

Jasminn Johnson

Daniel J. Jones

Ron Cephas Jones

Keegan-Michael Key

Luke Kirby

Natalie Knepp

Ezra Knight

Phil Kuehn

Tyler La Marr

Laura Linney

Justin Long

Chris Lowell

Natasha Lyonne

Adrian Martinez

Frances McDormand

Patricia McGregor

Shane McRae

Marisol Miranda

Bobby Moreno

Eddy Moretti

Dion Mucciacito

Jennifer Mudge

Tim Blake Nelson

Lila Neugebauer

Erica Newhouse

Kristine Nielsen

Nyambi Nyambi

Frank Pando

Annie Parisse

Tonye Patano

Jesse J. Perez

Darren Pettie

Tonya Pinkins

Reynaldo Piniella

Karen Pittman

Brian Quijada

Anthony Ramos

Armando Riesco

Rob Riggle

David Robaire

Elizabeth Rodriguez

Reg Rogers

Andre Royo

Roslyn Ruff

Mark Ruffalo

Deborah Rush

Keri Russell

Amy Ryan

Jay O. Sanders

Susan Sarandon

Joe Saylor

Shane Schnetzler

Pablo Schreiber

David Schwimmer

Cameron Scoggins

Peter Scolari

James Scully

Robby Sella

Matt Servitto

Michael Sexton

John Patrick Shanley

Michael Shannon

Michael James Shaw

Constance Shulman

Kristen Sieh

Raven Symoné

Jimmi Simpson

Christian Slater

Samantha Soule

Dale Soules

Steven Soderbergh

Paul Sparks

Michael Stahl-David

Ben Stiller

Corey Stoll

David Strathairn

Daniel Sullivan

Lili Taylor

Ray Anthony Thomas

Tracie Thoms

Lucie Tiberghien

Joe Tippett

Joanne Tucker

Grace Van Patten

Vladimir Versailles

Moritz Von Stuelpnagel

Pauletta Washington

Sharon Washington

Leah Walsh

Dianne Wiest

Samira Wiley

Mykelti Williamson

Debra Winger

DeWanda Wise

Christopher Wolfe

Sheldon Woodley

Harris Yulin

Glenn Zaleski

Sasheer Zamata

David Zayas

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d "About". Arts in the Armed Forces | AITAF. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  2. ^ Robertson, Campbell. "Oo-rah! A Squad of Actors Takes Lanford Wilson to the Marines". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Actor's Calendar: 'Girls,' 'Star Wars,' Taking Theater To The Military". npr.org. National Public Radio. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Bridge Award Reading". Arts in the Armed Forces | AITAF. Retrieved 2019-03-05.
  5. ^ Ugwu, Reggie. "Adam Driver's Nonprofit Seeks Soldiers for the Stage". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  6. ^ "Announcing the 2018 AITAF Playwriting Award Winner!". Arts in the Armed Forces | AITAF. 2018-05-01. Retrieved 2019-12-10.
  7. ^ "2019 Bridge Award". Arts in the Armed Forces | AITAF. Retrieved 2020-02-04.
  8. ^ "2019 Bridge Award Winner Announcement". Arts in the Armed Forces | AITAF. 2019-05-01. Retrieved 2019-12-10.
  9. ^ "Adam Driver Brings Monologues to the Military: Arts in the Armed Forces". news.vice.com. Vice News. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  10. ^ "Adam Driver's Non-Profit Performs for the Troops (Excerpt from 'Arts in the Armed Forces')". news.vice.com. Vice News. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  11. ^ "Adam Driver Tries on a Bomb Suit in Kuwait (Extra Scene from 'Arts in the Armed Forces')". news.vice.com. Vice News. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  12. ^ Driver, Adam. "My journey from Marine to Actor". ted.com. TED Conferences, LLC. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  13. ^ Oller, Jacob (2020-01-08). "Star Wars fans raise over $60K for Adam Driver's Arts in the Armed Forces charity". SYFY WIRE. Retrieved 2020-03-25.
  14. ^ Forces, Arts in the Armed (2020-01-07). "A message from AITAF Founder Adam Driverpic.twitter.com/EFbSSSn2q0". @AITAF. Retrieved 2020-03-25.
  15. ^ "Past Events Archive". Arts in the Armed Forces | AITAF. Retrieved 2019-02-08.