By Buddy Blouin
Finding the right outlets for our mental health is always important. It’s also difficult at times to connect with the right people within industries to advance your career. Furthermore, enjoying world-class entertainment for free is a great opportunity any day of the week. Ordinarily, these three subjects might not come together, but thanks to the Arts in the Armed Forces organization, they do for military members that are also actors. Learn more about how the heroes that serve this country while also perfecting their acting craft can enjoy recognition, resources, and comfort all in one place.

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What Is Arts in the Armed Forces?

Arts in the Armed Forces (AITAF) is a non-profit that helps deliver the performing arts to members of the military community. This includes Veterans, active-duty members, support staff, and their families. The program goes around the world and is free. A variety of interactive events from the AITAF touch on an array of themes. Audience members find themselves participating in the event as the performances incorporate question-and-answer elements. In addition to performances, since 2018, the Bridge Award for Playwriting has also been a focus of the organization. The purpose of the award is to shine a spotlight on emerging playwrights that are also in the American Armed Forces. On top of recognition, there have been cash prizes awarded. It also opens the door to help advance performances from those with exceptional talent by connecting the winner to the right resources and important figures in the theater community. Overall, the goals of the AITAF are to help show recognition to thespians and other performer-adjacent workers in the military, connect the community with those inside the industry, and create a place to connect military personnel and civilians.

Adam Driver: Military Veteran, Highly Acclaimed Actor

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCwwVjPNloY If you aren’t familiar with Adam Driver, you might not have been paying much attention over the last several years. Basically, if you can think of a prestigious acting award, the man has been nominated for it, including the Tonys, Emmys, Golden Globes, and SAG awards. This is, of course, burying the lede a bit, as Driver shifted into an international icon for his role as Kylo Ren in the latest core trilogy of the space opera Star Wars. But before he was fighting to take over galaxies dealing with complex commerce and political issues, Adam Driver was serving in the United States Marine Corps (USMC). Driver’s story is similar to many. After the heinous attack on September 11, 2001, he joined to defend his country. His career would come to a halt after ascending to the rank of Lance Corporal but suffering an injury while mountain biking. This change in direction would see Adam Driver take up acting after being accepted into the Juilliard on his second attempt. These reasons are exactly why Adam Driver is one of the best people to lead such an organization. His experiences of having to transition from military life into civilian life as an actor and his general understanding of both careers put Driver at the perfect crossroads. Together with his wife and fellow actor and founder, Joanne Tucker, Adam Driver’s Arts in the Armed Forces organization continues to provide adequate resources and shows to troops.

How Did Arts in the Armed Forces Start?

AITAF got its start in 2006 and became an official non-profit in 2008. It was founded by both Adam Driver and Joanne Tucker as a way to celebrate actors in the Armed Forces as well as provide adequate resources to them. Today, there are writing events, performances around the world, resources, and much more available through the program. Arts in the Armed Forces jobs include internships to help bolster careers and foster talent. The impact of Arts in the Armed Forces continues to be seen throughout the military community. It spreads culture, provides opportunities, raises the morale of American fighters, and allows troops a place to hone their skills.

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