Our History

In the summer of 2021, Improbable Players and Creating Outreach About Addiction Support Together merged together as 2nd Act. Both nonprofits had similar missions and saw this as an opportunity to provide more hope and healing to communities within OH, MA and RI. There is a combined 40+ years of history and employment of over 200 actors with lived experience of addiction.

 

37 years of setting the stage for prevention by educating the public about addiction and recovery through dramatic performances and theater workshops presented by actors who are in long-term recovery from Substance Use Disorder
 

Founded by Ana Bess Moyer Bell in 2016, Creating Outreach About Addiction Support Together (COAAST) worked to eradicate the opioid epidemic through arts-based therapeutic, educational, and community driven approaches

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The merger combined two rosters of partners, two small staffs and two growing slates of programs under one administration, streamlining operating costs while serving an even greater number of people and addressing an ever greater need. The creation of 2nd Act united streams of expertise and artistry at the intersection of public health and art, in the kind of connection that produces a creative evolution. These times require no less, and we can’t wait to begin.

Ana Bess Moyer Bell, 2nd Act Executive Director, Drama Therapist

TIMELINE

1984 

1986 - 2012 

2013 

2014 

2015 

2016 

2017 

2018 

2020 

Improbable Players

C.O.A.A.S.T.

Lynn Bratley founds Improbable Players with her play “I’ll Never Do That!”, a four person play about a family affected by alcohol and drug use.

IP writes and performs over twelve productions, involving over 200 actors in recovery and reaching an audience of over 900,000. Productions included:

  • "Stages” - a two-person play about how alcohol and drugs affect us at every stage of our lives

  • “Stand Up Straight” - a one-man standup comedy show

  • "The Next Generation" - a troupe of sober senior citizens who toured to senior centers and conferences with a play devised from their own experience, strength and hope

  • “Crystal’s Difficult Day” - a play for young children

  • “Passing it On” - a play about the HIV/AIDs epidemic and its connection with drinking/drug use

  • “Hitting Rock Bottom” - a play about relationship violence and its connection to drinking/drug use

  • “The Smith Family” - a play developed for Massachusetts Trial Court’s Judicial Institute Conferences to educate judge

IP publishes an interactive theater workshop that merged health and theater core curriculum titled Improbable Players, Using Applied Theater and Sociodrama in Addictions Prevention. 

“End Of The Line: Confronting the Opioid Epidemic” premieres and reaches 14,000 adolescents over the next two years with an important prevention message.

IP works with the Director of the Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. John F. Kelly, to design and administer a pre- and post- performance questionnaire to measure outcomes. The positive results moved the Players into the realm of evidence-based prevention.

Ana Bess Moyer Bell, drama therapist, writes "Four Legs to Stand On" about a young boy struggling with an opioid use disorder and his family. The show premieres in Rhode Island at The Contemporary Theatre.

Creating Outreach About Addiction Support Together (COAAST) is officially founded by Ana Bess Moyer Bell. COAAST performs "Four Legs to Stand On" at the New York University Applied Theatre Conference. 

COAAST performs for Congressional Staff at the Russell Senate Building in Washington D.C. with a sponsorship by Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Boston Children’s Hospital. COAAST helps to pass a bill for more funding for adolescent treatment.

COAAST develops key partnerships, additional productions and begins performing in schools, colleges and universities.

  • Partners with Rhode Island Dept of Health to present parts of the "Four Legs" play alongside presenters at The Vets Auditorium as part of "Owning Our Story: About the Opioid Overdose Epidemic."

  • "Four Legs to Stand On" tours to 15 public high schools sponsored by RI Dept of Health.

  • Ana Bess Moyer Bell is commissioned by Trinity Repertory Theatre to write a sequel to "Four Legs to Stand On - Act 2."

  • "Four Legs to Stand On - Act 2" premieres at the Drama in the Dunes event hosted with Lt. Gov. Dan Mckee.

  • Rhode Island’s Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals funds tour of Act 2 to all colleges and universities in Rhode Island.

  • Ana Bess Moyer Bell and actor Paul Kandarian and son work with Health Story Collective and Harvard Medical School to create new show about veterans and recovery based on Paul’s own story called "Resurfacing."

  • "Resurfacing" goes on tour to Veterans hospitals and Veteran recovery conferences. 

"Four Legs to Stand On" goes virtual with performances over Zoom. COAAST launches “What’s Behind the Mask” series followed by three virtual episodes.

Ana Bess Moyer Bell takes over as Executive Consultant of Improbable Players in addition to her role as Executive Director for COAAST.

2021 

Improbable Players and COAAST merge to form 2nd Act with Ana Bess Moyer Bell serving as Executive Director.

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A merger committee is formed. IP and COAAST boards vote unanimously to approve merger.

2nd Act hits the ground running! 2nd Act hosts two Golden Hours to announce the merger and to facilitate a discussion with the production team about cultural competency/diversity/equity/inclusion, 2nd Act's content change and our trauma-informed theatre. Newly workshopped performances of "I'll Never Do That" and "Four Legs to Stand On" are performed at high schools, hospitals and community centers both in-person and virtually.

2022 

2022 is off to a great start! 2nd Act members speak on podcasts and radio shows including "It's About Justice" and "Groove with Portia." 2nd Act performed "Four Legs to Stand On" for the Pediatric Physicians' Organization at Boston Children's followed by a facilitated talk-back session. 2nd Act members are also hard at work behind the scenes on a new educational programming model.

And this is only the beginning! Everyone at 2nd Act is dedicated to our mission of changing the way people and communities respond to the impact of substance use through theatre and drama therapy. 

Please follow 2nd Act on social media to see our latest updates!