Veterans Empowerment Theatre (VET) is a performing arts program for military veterans offered by CRE Outreach that gives our nation’s brave service members a safe environment to voice their own heroic stories, personal tragedies, and experiences. VET uses theatre and creative expression as a means for participants to confront their past and encourage them on their path to overcome addiction, effectively deal with PTSD, build job skills, and reintegrate into society.
VET presents a firsthand view of the soldiers’ experiences in their most raw form, unfiltered by the press or military censorship. Productions give audiences greater insight into the difficulty facing veterans returning from deployment. Performances depict real encounters from the front lines of battle and expose the inner turmoil of the lasting scars, both external and internal endured from combat.
Participants gain skills in acting, writing, directing, and technical aspects of theatre. The rehearsals and performances take place in CRE Outreach’s professional theatre, The Blue Door, and culminate in public performances of original plays based on their lives. The themes of the play are chosen by the veterans and explore participants’ love-hate relationship with the US Military—all participants are proud of their time in the military, but their service is tarnished by experiences of racism, sexism, and the difficulty of accessing benefits.