Imagination Workshop

submission by ootp52
Imagination Workshop

About Your Organization

Organization name(s):

Imagination Workshop

Organization website:

Describe your organization (check only one):

Nonprofit organization

For-profit organization



Please describe yourself (check only one):

Solo actor (just us on this project!)

Proposed collaboration (we want to work with partners!)

Collaboration (partners are signed up and ready to hit the ground running!)

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.


We help mental health consumers live fuller lives using the theater arts.

In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.


IW proposes applying its 45 years of proven service to the mentally ill to helping homeless veterans and veterans suffering from PTSD.

Does your project impact Los Angeles County? Check only one.

Yes (benefits all of LA County)

Yes (benefits a region of LA County)

Yes (benefits a population of LA County)


Please write a sample tweet to describe your submission.


Imagination Workshop uses the theater arts to help the mentally ill live better, fuller lives.

Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit? Check all that apply.

Central LA

East LA

South LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South Bay



What is your idea/project in more detail?


One hundred homeless veterans and veterans suffering PTSD have a series of 20 weekly structured hour-long meetings (in groups of 15) where they are mentored by professional theater artists (actors, writers, directors) in the creation of four original theater works, which are then mounted professionally for the general public in Los Angeles professional theater venues, and are performed by the veterans and professional actors together, under the direction of a professional theater directer and produced by a professional theater producer.

What will you do to implement this idea/project?


We train and supply the professional theater artists, and continue our 20 year relationship with services at the Veterans Administration such as New Directions, the Salvation Army, and the California State Home for Veterans, as well as other veteran homes and services all over Los Angeles in serving their clients (the veterans), but on a larger scale than before by supplying more artists in order to serve 100 vets. We arrange for the meeting space, and then rent the theater spaces for performance

How will your idea/project help make LA the healthiest place to live today? In 2050?


Scientific testing at the UCLA Semel Institute has shown that among those who suffer mental illness, participation in Imagination Workshop's theater workshops for the mentally ill leads to a higher functioning, better life, which includes improved social skills, higher functioning in job interviews, the establishing of ego boundaries through the experience of creating and embodying fictional characters, better participation in groups and programs, and the ability to stay out of the hospital. Our work with homeless veterans and those suffering PTSD in the past has been very successful and helped hundreds of vets live fuller lives. By helping 100 Los Angeles veterans live healthier lives, we help La become the healthiest place to live today. By creating a continuing program that reaches out and serves this many vets every year, we help make a heathy LA in 2050.

Whom will your project benefit? Please be specific.


Our project will directly benefit 100 homeless veterans and veterans suffering PTSD, their families, and their community. Through professional theater presentations, we will reach audiences of several hundred theater-goers and share with them the nature of our work and the needs of our veterans.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.


In 2012, IW, with a a grant from Metabolic Studio, led 20 weekly sessions at the Calvet Center with 40 senior vets and homeless vets from the California State Home for Veterans and the Salvation Army Veteran Home that resulted in an original theater production at the Odyssey theater, seen by 150 people. From 2000 to 2010, IW ran a weekly group of homeless veterans at New Directions that resulted in three original theater productions at Theater Theater and The Greenway Theater. All of these organizations have issued IW a standing invitation to work with their vets, but have not, of late, been able to fund our work. With funding, IW is definitely invited to work with these organizations.

How will your project impact the LA2050 "LIVE" metrics?

Access to healthy food

Healthcare access

Exposure to air toxins

Number of households below the self-sufficiency standard

Percent of imported water

Obesity rates

Rates of homelessness

Walk/bike/transit score

Acres and miles of polluted waterways

Rates of mental illnesses

Prevalence of adverse childhood experience (Dream Metric)

Percentage of LA communities that are resilient (Dream Metric)

Percentage of residents receiving coordinated healthcare services (Dream Metric)

Percentage of tree canopy cover (Dream Metric)


Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.:

Imagination Workshop seeks to help psychiatric patients, homeless veterans, at-risk youth, and other disenfranchised individuals synthesize thoughts and feelings in the realm of metaphor through creating and portraying fictional characters far removed from themselves under the direction of specially-trained professional theatre artists. We provide weekly hour-long sessions in which two or three IW theatre artists lead fifteen mental health patients in structured exercises, based on acting and playwriting training techniques, that lead the patients to create fictional characters far removed from themselves, improvise and write scenes and sometimes whole plays featuring those characters, and finally to embody those characters on stage, in a professionally mounted production, staged and designed by professional theater arts.Among the results of this experience for the patients are often improved social skills, enhanced performance in job interviews, and higher self-esteem, all buttressed by the accomplishment of writing and acting in a play. Scientific studies at the UCLA Semel Institute have proven these results.

Imagination Workshop currently serves psychiatric outpatients at the UCLA Semel Institute, seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s at the Virginia House in Sherman Oaks, and high school students with behavioral issues at Olympic High School in Santa Monica. In the recent past we have served homeless veterans at New Directions and the Salvation Army at the VA in Westwood, aging veterans suffering PTSD at the California State Home for Veterans, and the criminally insane at Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino and Metropolitan Hospital in Norwalk.

Please select which other LA2050 Goals are relevant to your project or organization (check all that apply):

LA is the best place to CREATE

LA is the best place to PLAY

LA is the best place to CONNECT

LA is the best place to LEARN

Please explain how you will evaluate your project.


1. Veterans participation in groups, the writing of an original script, and the public performance.

2. Doing screenings of the veterans' participation in their programs (12 Step, New Directions, etc.) in partnership with staff at New Directions, Calvet, and the Salvation Army, before after and during their participation with IW.

3. Follow up reports on the participating veterans' progress in job finding, self-care, sobriety (for 12 step veterans, and in controlling PTSD.

What two lessons have informed your solution or project?


1. Everyone has the creative spark.

2. The experience of creating and performing original theater involves disciples that positively effect the happiness and fullness of life for the mentally ill.

Explain how implementing your project within the next twelve months is an achievable goal.


Weekly sessions with homeless and PTSD veterans could begin immediately at with Calvet, the Salvation Army, or New Directions, or at a rented space. The connections with the veteran agencies are already established. During six months of weekly sessions with our professionally trained theater artists, the scripts for the four theater works will be written by staff and clients together. Each theater work will take two months of rehearsal, which can all be simultaneous. The theater is a rental, and the publicity is a three month process. IW has been creating original theater with the mentally ill for 45 years.

Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?


1. Getting the veterans from the various agencies to meet together at one time is a difficult problem. With this funding we could solve it by having several groups going that offer an array of meeting times.

2. Scheduling a professional theater venue in LA with performance space available at the right time. This is solved because IW has long-standing relationships with LA area theaters, and they do their best to accommodate us.

What resources does your project need? (check all that apply)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

0 Pink talk bubble tail c96b4a07ef1417e25d0bcf5c4cba4766b8bbf0382f07677990a9d5577885d4d7

Pink ribbon award box icon 45b87e779c93f5099a48378c2aadc0fcd51184974daecf76e3f5c50034ea21fb
Award topvotedidea 5a5ae14e3d56a10363ea2a398cece46cf4df891213cbe68677c19d8903a1932a
Circle 1 inactive e7784182a1bd5eace578987db27fc19ec6337f418c48c6c8732605b9043d50d0 Step1 title submission inactive cde083e53089b973e7c9dc80a44a038c1ce4cf3b2650aeb5549157d1ed58a2d9

Submission Began
Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Submission Ended
Thursday, July 31, 2014
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 2 inactive 74a43088831beb43fdbd7591ef5d50a5a7a26ff92c9e8ed489782459fa31a8d9 Step2 title voting inactive 96be722f53c417edddb5742ba9a6dc2fd403f7e4f6c19dbe883d50d20d93689d

Voting Began
Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Voting Ended
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 3 83da7a9432aeea960e1a9e9ee93e7ea1221af6c8f42b27964f2e9999d94b2b8d Step3 title 3d9e2a65d6ea1ad301f8fc607f5f828bd96362932c71d81c0da5b1fd964422b0

Winner Announced
Tuesday, September 30, 2014