Only Make Believe

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Producer/Director Only Make Believe, feature documentary

New York is one of the greatest cities in the world, and the most diverse. It also has an increasing number of chronically ill children in hospitals, special schools and care facilities. This film is about Only Make Believe founded by Dena Hammerstein, which creates interactive theatre for these children and their families, as a way to advance the healing process and allow them to simply be kids.

New York is one of the greatest cities in the world, and the most diverse. It also has an increasing number of chronically ill children in hospitals, special schools and care facilities. This film is about Only Make Believe an organisation that creates interactive theatre for these children and their families, as a way to advance the healing process and allow them to simply be kids.

Only Make Believe was founded by Dena Hammerstein. Inspired by years of volunteering and frustrated by the practicalities involved in taking handicapped children to the theatre, she had an idea. Why not “ take the theatre to the children – in hospitals and other institutions and by tapping into their imagination, allow them to make believe, to imagine a life full of possibilities, not a life full of doctor’s appointments, disabilities, chronic illness, sadness and isolation….”

Dena’s simple but brilliant idea and dedication sees OMB celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year, in an environment where fewer than half of all nonprofits survive for five years.  The organisation has grown from taking actors into just one hospital, The Rusk Institute, to performing in 45 hospitals in NY and in Washington DC.  OMB puts on over 200 professional performances a year. 70,000 children have been served by OMB. The proven medical and psychological benefits for a child freeing up his or her imagination is testament to OMB’s longevity and to its future.  It’s a real life feel good story.