by Jake Hughes
From Jimmy Stewart to Audie Murphy, the link between Hollywood and the military is a long one. They provide us with entertainment and escape from the daily grind, and we are an endless source of epic stories of courage and commitment. These days, there aren’t many vets in Hollywood, but a new player in Tinsel Town is aiming to help more vets and active duty service members get involved in the arts.
Adam Driver began acting in high school, but after 9/11, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. He served for two years before a mountain biking injury cut his military career short. Upon his EAS, he attended New York’s prestigious Julliard School, graduating in 2009. He played on Broadway and garnered attention in supporting roles, but eventually found international fame as Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015. Since then, Driver has gone on to star in a Martin Scorsese movie, among others. But Driver has said that he is proudest of his military service.
With that in mind, Driver and his wife Joanne formed Arts in the Armed Forces. The purpose of AITAF is to provide high-quality theater programming for active duty service members, veterans, military support staff and their families.
“We’re hoping to show that language is a powerful tool, that self-expression is a powerful tool,” Driver said in an interview with VICE News. “It’s just as valuable as any rifle you carry or any tool you can put in your pack.”
And now, they’re offering even more to the military community with the Bridge Award. Made to celebrate the charity’s tenth anniversary, the award will offer a cash prize of $10,000 to a service member or veteran who can write the best play. The Bridge Award will recognize an emerging playwright of exceptional talent within the United States military. In addition to the cash prize, AITAF will produce a reading of the winning play in the fall of 2018 in New York City, or on post if the winner is on active duty.
Vets have until March 1st, 2018 to submit their plays. For more information, click here.