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Meet Lynn Bratley of Improbable Players in Watertown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lynn Bratley.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started Improbable Players with three others in 1984 to inform people about addiction and recovery through theater. My own story, which once seemed so ordinary to me – a story of closet drinking, nightly blackouts, and endless promises to quit – became the basis for the first play, still performed today: it tells a timeless story of the hope and reality of long-term recovery.

Since then over 200 actors and more than a million people in audiences from elementary school to senior centers, community coalitions to national conferences have been educated and entertained by the Players, pioneers in putting an authentic face on recovery.

All of the Improbable Players are young professional actors in long-term recovery – integrating their passion for performing with their drive to give back. They are active in their careers and in their own personal recovery, modeling healthy choices– in the plays and in real life– and teaching audience members about community resources and how to ask for help. All of the plays have been written from the authentic, poignant, and funny stories of our actors, who are the company’s most valuable assets. Each day they reaffirm the choice to be people in recovery by telling their stories on stage.

“End of the Line” – the newest play – was created in 2015 to confront the opioid epidemic: actors and staff interviewed young people who had been addicted to opioids and who were able to get help and stop using. Their stories were transformed into a play which has already reached over 12,000 young people in their schools.

The hallmark of each performance comes at the end of each play when the actors step forward and briefly tell their own story before inviting questions. Audiences are moved by the frank and honest discussion that ensues. Because of the sensitive nature of the discussions, teachers and social workers are on hand after each session to follow up should students need more attention.

I have been blessed to be the artistic director of this truly amazing theater company for the past 33 years and combine the great passions of my life – theater, education, and recovery.

Has it been a smooth road?
Keeping a small nonprofit organization going is always a challenge – but we just hold on and the funding always seems to come in at the right time. Audiences of all ages love Improbable Players and the letters and stories we get from them are what inspires us and keeps us going.

“I just wanted to let your company know that after an Improbable Players performance at my high school in Boston, over a month ago, I really started to think about changing my ways. I had become very dependent on alcohol at just 14 years old, and the performance made me realize how it had really contributed to my depression instead of helping me forget about my pain. I actually went to the showing for the humor spin of it, but I didn’t expect it to really change how I wanted to live my life. Ever since that day, I have stopped drinking and honestly find it kind of sick when I hear my friends or classmates saying how drunk they’re going to get. . . I can’t believe I had been brainwashed into believing it was the source of fun as well. Anyways, I just wanted to thank your company because even though when it was done, there were people in the hallways saying they bet no one was influenced, but I truly was.”

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Improbable Players – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Improbable Players are real people telling real stories.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Improbable Players is proud to have worked with most of the high schools and middle schools in Massachusetts.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Lynn Bratley

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1 Comment

  1. Judith Zackman

    August 26, 2017 at 1:56 am

    I am thrilled to see that another play is looking for “real” people to try and touch just one person! As an ex – educator, tutor, have had my own story of getting sober & now proudly in recovery! I know Lynn B., of whom I worked briefly one summer for very p/t. Getting involved with the plays, actors & students would be ideal! They are a progressive, caring community!

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