Young ‘Oz’ actor speaks up for Denver Actors Fund

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On Saturday morning, young Theatre of Academy Arts actor Hannah Katz spoke to audiences at the Town Hall Arts Center in support of the Denver Actors Fund.

“We are lucky to have so many gifted, talented, caring, dedicated actors in the professional theatre community who set great examples for us both onstage and off,” Katz, a 12-year-old who attends Campus Middle School, said moments before she played Dorothy in two performances of the Academy of Theatre Arts’ production of “Oz.”

The ATA, founded by Alann Estes and Paul Dwyer, is now owned and operated by Mary Daily, with Robert Michael Sanders and Piper Arpan as directors.

The idea to use the “Oz” performances as an opportunity to raise awareness of the Denver Actors Fund was entirely Katz’s, Sanders said.

“Hannah asked if she could do a speech for the Denver Actors Fund, and she put out a ruby red slipper to collect money,” Sanders said. “… And I think it’s cute as heck that this is all her idea.”

Hannah’s efforts raised more than $100 for the Denver Actors Fund, and she intends to make the same speech before the final performance of “Oz” this coming Wednesday  morning. (The show, music directed by Mary Dailey, starts  at 10 a.m. Tickets $6: 303-794-2787 ext. 5)

Below is a transcript of Hannah’s speech:

Thanks everyone for coming to our show today. We would like to take a moment to talk with you about something very important.

Denver is a great place to learn the art of musical theatre. Part of what makes it so great is that we are lucky to have so many gifted, talented, caring, dedicated actors in the professional theatre community who are willing to share their time and talent with the performers of tomorrow like all of us.

They spend much of their free time teaching and nurturing kids like us and being great role models. They set great examples for us both onstage and off.

One great way they are doing this is through an organization that was founded a little over a year ago called The Denver Actors Fund. It is a non-profit organization that helps members of the Denver theatre community who find themselves in situations of medical need. The fund offers both financial and volunteer assistance.

To help support the DAF, the “Tap Shoe Initiative” was formed. As part of this project, theatre companies design a “themed” shoe, or boot, and collect donations for the Fund. You might have seen our ruby-red slipper boot when you came in the theatre. We at ATA would like to thank the Denver theatre community by helping to raise funds for the DAF.

Please help us fill our boot and support fellow Denver actors in need!

Thank you, Hannah, for setting a great example for the next generation of Denver’s theatre performers!

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ABOUT THE DENVER ACTORS FUND:

The Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in medical need. In addition to financial relief, a team of more than 60 Denver Actors Fund volunteers offers good neighborly assistance including meal prep and delivery, child care, transportation, errands, construction, pet-sitting and more. For more information, visit our web site at www.DenverActorsFund.Org

DENVER ACTORS FUND IN ACTION:

Read Denver Actors Fund testimonials by clicking here

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

To DONATE the Denver Actors Fund: Please go here (with our humble thanks):

APPLY FOR AID:

To apply for Denver Actors Fund aid: Fill out this brief online form here

 

MORE WAYS TO HELP:

DONATE BY MAIL:

Send checks made out to the Denver Actors Fund to:
4594 Osceola St.
Denver, CO 80212

 

COME TO OUR FUNDRAISING EVENTS:

Dec 8 and 15: “BALLS! A Holiday Spectacular” will perform at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret. Click here for details and tickets.

 

SHOP AT AMAZONSMILE:

Denver Actors Fund

 

Video: See highlights from “Misacast 2014,” a September fundraiser held on behalf of the Denver Actors Fund:

 

Denver Actors Fund in Action: Sheila Ivy Traister

Traister99Sheila Ivy Traister, left, in “99 Histories” for Theatre Esprit Asia last year at the Vintage Theatre.

 

Note: At the Denver Actors Fund, anonymity of aid recipients is presumed and fully protected, unless and until the recipient chooses to have his or her story told.

_DSC0621Financial-aid recipient: Actor, director and playwright Sheila Ivy Traister has been performing in Denver since 2000. Her first year in Denver,  Westword designated her as the year’s Best Actress for her work in Shadow Theatre Company’s multiracial production of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and Theatre Group’s “The Blue Room.” Most recently, she has performed in “99 Histories” for Theatre Esprit Asia at the Vintage Theatre, and performed in the world premiere of “Slow Dance with a Hot Pick-Up” at Boulder’s Dinner Theatre. She starred with Dale Li in Paragon Theatre’s acclaimed “The Sound of a Voice” in 2010. “Traister is heartbreaking as she reveals the combined effect of a cycle of loss, grief and isolation,” wrote Adam Goldstein in the Aurora Sentinel. Sheila has also performed for the Denver Center Theatre Company, Aurora Fox, Town Hall Arts Center, And Toto Too, Playback Theatre and Changing Scene. Sheila has appeared in more than 15 films, and her TV credits include “In Plain Sight” and the miniseries “Asteroid.” Sheila studied mechanical engineering at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and served on the Pistol Team.

 Her story: Sheila took a serious fall in November 2012 and has since accrued more than $73,000 in debts related to her medical expenses. She still awaits three additional surgeries: A full knee replacement, the repair of a torn hip ligament and the repair of a separated shoulder. Sheila also was diagnosed with a severe concussion in the fall, which affects her vision and cognitive functioning. Her recovery has exhausted both her personal savings and retirement. Her expenses average about $1,800 a month, but, at present, her income only amounts to about $600 a month.

How we helped: The Denver Actors Fund board of directors approved an initial gift of $1,800, or the equivalent of about one month of Sheila’s overall expenses. That made for the second-largest gift in the short history of the Denver Actors Fund. Combined with subsequent support including targeted donations from the community, The Denver Actors Fund now has made $2,800 available to Sheila.

A message from Sheila Ivy Traister: “I’m so incredibly grateful to this community of artists and patrons; those of you who have given of yourselves, your time and resources to be there for those of us in dire need. I was really at a loss for how I would get through this next month. Beyond helping me to meet the financial demands created by the circuDAFmstances surrounding my medical needs, you’ve helped me to remember that grace is at work in my life, and that no matter what happens I can trust that I am always taken care of.  I’m humbled and most appreciative to everyone who has made the Denver Actors Fund possible. I would like to thank my dear friend Cajardo Lindsey for reaching out on my behalf.  With my whole heart, thank you all for this most timely and blessed gift!”

To help us help Team Traister more: If you would like to donate to the Denver Actors Fund, see below. If you would like to direct a specific donation to help further defray Sheila Ivy Traister’s significant ongoing financial obligations, mail checks in her name to Denver Actors Fund, 4594 Osceola St., Denver, CO 80212. Or use this donation link, and in your note, direct your gift to Sheila. 

Read more Denver Actors Fund testimonials by clicking here

 

ABOUT THE DENVER ACTORS FUND:

The Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in medical need. In addition to financial relief, a team of more than 60 Denver Actors Fund volunteers offers good neighborly assistance including meal prep and delivery, child care, transportation, errands, construction, pet-sitting and more. For more information, visit our web site at www.DenverActorsFund.Org

APPLY FOR AID:

To apply for Denver Actors Fund aid: Fill out this brief online form here

 

MORE WAYS TO HELP:

DONATE BY MAIL:

Send checks made out to the Denver Actors Fund to:
4594 Osceola St.
Denver, CO 80212

 

COME TO OUR FUNDRAISING EVENTS:

Dec 8 and 15: “BALLS! A Holiday Spectacular” will perform at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret. Click here for details and tickets.

 

SHOP AT AMAZONSMILE:

Denver Actors Fund

 

BUY A POSTER!
poster1.4_Cross 134 women (and a few token dudes) from the Colorado theater community, all supporting the Denver Actors Fund. They cost $20 per poster (20×28). To order, email your quantity to denveractorsfund@gmail.com. We’ll take care of delivery and payment from there.

 

VISIT OUR ONLINE MERCH STORE:

Click here to see how you can buy DAF products such as T-shirts, key chains, puzzles and much more

 

Video: See highlights from “Misacast 2014,” a September fundraiser held on behalf of the Denver Actors Fund: