CRE Outreach is Changing Perceptions

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Ernest Pipoly and Torri Taite

As I am sure is the case with many of you reading this blog, I have to maintain a day job to support the family and supply my theater habit. I am fortunate that working as a Director of a Community Center for the City of LA has often overlapped with my addiction.

If not for my position with the city, I would never have had the opportunity to meet and work with the amazing people of CRE Outreach’s program Changing Perceptions–Theatre by the Blind. The results of their work are incredible and transformative and the program deserves your support.

I became acquainted with CRE Outreach in 2004 when Scott Crawford and I were given the task of creating the Theatre in Residence Program within the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. As part of that process, Christina Kokubo, who was then the leader of

Changing Perceptions, applied for residence at Lake Street Community Center where I am Facility Director.

CRE Outreach–Theatre by the Blind provided our at-risk youth with free drama classes; in exchange, we provided space for their rehearsals and meetings.

Since the group rehearses here at Lake Street each and every week, I naturally became more involved as time went on.  In particular, Greg Shane and Bryan Caldwell reached out to me to become more formally involved as a board member last year and I took them up on it.

Ernie Alvarez, Berts Grose, Melanie Hernandez and Maria Perez

CRE Outreach’s mission is “to use theatre to enhance self-esteem, encourage self expression and empower individuals to overcome the challenges in their lives.”

Through “Creative Youth Theatre” and “Changing Perceptions–Theatre by the Blind,” CRE has been providing arts programming to schools and community organizations since 2003. In that time it has created over 100 original plays and musicals.

I have been blessed to observe the group’s work and get to know the actors involved over the last seven years. I have watched lives transformed, the powers of speech restored, confidence gained and community built by CRE. I’m very proud to be associated with the work they are doing and to introduce them to our community.

To get involved with CRE Outreach and to experience what Theatre by the Blind has accomplished, come see the world premiere of Decider, a new play by Colin Simson, directed by Greg Shane. It is an original production by the only entirely blind theater troupe in the United States. The group has been working very hard on this project and I’m sure you will enjoy the evening. It is truly amazing to see what these actors can do in spite of their challenges. Their joy is infectious and I’ve never seen a group so in love with the theater.

Please also visit There you can learn about ways theater professionals can volunteer or donate to their cause. See you at the show!

Decider, presented by CRE Outreach as a Changing Perceptions/Theatre by the Blind production, plays Thurs., Feb. 24, March 3 and 10 at 8 pm. Tickets: $25. Magicopolis Teatre, 1418 4th Street, Santa Monica; 310.902.8220 or

Jeremy Aldridge has been nominated by the LA Weekly for his direction of Hoboken to Hollywood which also has been nominated for Musical of the Year. He has previously been honored with the LADCC and Backstage Garland Awards for his direction of Louis and Keely Live at the Sahara. He is currently serving on the Board of Artistic Directors at Sacred Fools Theatre and on the Board of Directors for CRE Outreach.

Jeremy Aldridge

Jeremy Aldridge