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Creative Lab Program

(MSCC) January 28, 2019

A developing Midtown South Community council Program


Midtown South Community Council (MSCC) was established in 1983 to combat the many problems residents face in a commercialized area. MSCC is a not-for-profit 501c3 organisation devoted to building better neighborhoods and stronger relationships within the midtown south neighborhood of Manhattan. A part of that mission is to improve quality of life and develop our existing community.

Among its many Quality of Life programs, specifically the Arts & Culture program, MSCC has partnered up with Thomas Vilorio to establish the Creative Lab. This program-in-development aims to provide a space to foster artistic development in Acting and in Performance Writing for individuals who cannot access a standard school. The Creative Lab Program provides these individuals the opportunity to test their abilities regardless of where they are in their artistic development. Therefore, whether it is to discover a hidden talent or to further develop the one they have but do not have the financial resources to do so, the Creative Lab Program is their home.


There are approximately 60,000 people, including 22,000 children and 13,000 families living in NYC shelters (Source: DHS, 06.08.2017). That means there is potentially a huge number of individuals within these statistics who for obvious reasons find it difficult to access an arts education, or at the very least, a platform to express, and nay materialize their voice.

Although the arts do not pretend to be the solution for unemployment or the homeless crisis (even though most artists come from humble beginnings), it does function effectively in a complementary role. It is of no surprise why mental health organizations resort to arts programs to assist their patients work through and express their thoughts and feelings, which often facilitates positive growth in their recovery. Halfway houses have also used the arts as a tool to champion the educational, emotional and cultural development of individuals who have been incarcerated and would like to rebuild their lives. The bottom line is the arts give us a sense of fulfillment, a voice. To develop that voice is to develop our confidence and our sense of self. It is life-enhancing and it defines our identities; therefore, it becomes an integral part of culture.

The MSCC Creative Lab is offered primarily to low to no income individuals, free of cost to them, to help them explore their feelings. It is designed to provide participants the ability to channel their real- life experiences into thought-provoking stories, which could be potentially presented to the community.

MSCC Creative Lab requires your assistance to fund resources and a space. You may know of a space that may be offered for free. 


The Acting Class and the Performance Writing Class are each two hours (2) long and offered twice (2) a week for an eight (8) week term. The maximum of students is fifteen per class.

ACTING. In this class students are introduced to basic concepts of the Stanislavski System and Laban Efforts by way of practical exercises. Students learn to apply these concepts to a script in an effort to create a character.

The methodologies used are of observation, experimentation, investigation and group work. The first four (4) weeks are dedicated to Discovery. Through the practical exercises, students learn to discover their own personal potential and blockage. They gain tools to strengthen and deepen their natural instincts in order to be open to trust their own receptors and imagination. This allows them to lose their inhibitions while strengthening their concentration. By the end of this phase, students are ready for sincere interpretations and revelations.

The last four (4) weeks consists of Interpretation. Students learn to do research on a particular text or script in order to create their characters and explore the themes within. The course ends with a showcase of a scene or monologue the students have worked on, giving them the opportunity to practice the knowledge they obtained during the workshop.

PERFORMANCE WRITING. This practical course is designed to allow students to materialize their ideas, whether to develop a piece they’ve written or put into words an idea they’ve been exploring. The process of writing is a process of trial and error that has immeasurable value regardless of the end result. It is a learning process that gets writers from A to B to Z and back to A no matter how advanced the writer is in their career. The course is designed for risk-takers and inquisitive minds who wish to go beyond their limits.

Performance Writing students can test their work either by having other performance writing students read their work or they may choose to write a piece to be performed by the acting students. The course encourages them to write for the acting students to give them the opportunity to not only know for whom they are writing but also to encourage a true sense of ensemble work.


As mentioned above, the Acting Class and the Performance Writing Class are each be two hours (2) long and offered twice (2) a week for an eight (8) week term. The maximum of students is fifteen (15) per class.

The space needed to accommodate participants is at least four hundred (400) square feet. MSCC Creative Lab will be partnering up with local studios to provide us with space to hire. An estimated cost for a space of that size is at $70-$100 per hour.

MSCC Creative Lab also aims to work with local offices and the studio for access to document reproduction for materials to be used for both acting and creative writing classes. Otherwise, administration costs, including photocopying, are estimated to be $60 per week.

The hourly rate for the instructor is estimated at one hundred ($107) dollars per hour. An additional oversight fee for MSCC is set at $100.

The above essentials though free of charge for no-income participants must be covered by MSCC through contributions and donations it receives for this specific program. If a student is able to afford a class, a cost has been set for these students at ten dollars ($10) per class.

Participants interested in our Performance Writing class, but who do not have access to a computer, can initially utilize the computer rooms at the New York Public Libraries.

Pursuant to the above, the following is an estimated budget for the cost of MSCC Creative Lab:

Total costs per class per week = $528

Two class total costs per week = $1,056

8 week term costs for both classes = $8448 8 week term funding needed for both classes = $8448.


Trained as an actor, Thomas Vilorio is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and later obtained an MFA in Acting from East 15 Acting School in the United Kingdom.

Over the years he’s worked with repertory theatres such as the Pearl Theater, New Jersey Rep and the Spanish Repertory Theater. In the UK, he primarily worked in classical productions and through his own theatre company, Mandigo Place Productions. Through Mandigo he produced the London premiere of Two Rooms by Lee Blessing. In an effort to create a platform for victims of hostage situations, the production offered a post-show panel discussion with panelists from organisations such as, Hostage UK, Crucible Human Centre of Roehampton University, the Office of the European Union Against Terrorism, and Against Violence Extremism.

In the Dominican Republic, Thomas produced and directed theatre through CortoTeatro, an ensemble theatre group that fosters emerging and established artists of the Dominican Republic by featuring new works that have a social impact. As an acting coach, he worked with professional actors and actors-in-training looking to enter drama schools in the US and UK. Students he assisted in their school applications have been offered placements at centers such as the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, the MA in Writing for Performance and Dramaturgy programme with Goldsmiths, University of London, and the acting programme of Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York.

In addition to coaching, Thomas also conducted workshops on Shakespeare through the National Theatre of Santo Domingo and the Association Columbian and Caribbean American Schools (ACCAS) Theatre Festival in the Dominican Republic. He was invited by Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Dominican Republic to serve as principal guest lecturer on Shakespeare and Elizabethan Theatre for the Embassy of the United Kingdom in the Dominican Republic and the Association of UK University Alumni.

Served as dramaturgical adviser to screenwriters and playwrights. Recently worked alongside Dominican screenwriter and director Pedro Urrutia on his film ‘White Card’ (post-production) and Italian screenwriter, novelist and actor Ettore D’Alessandro for his film ‘Flow’ (post-production).

Lastly, for the past three years he has served as a guest lecturer and panel judge for the Advocacy Film Festival (AFF) of Santo Domingo. The first of its class in the Dominican Republic, AFF is an annual short film festival designed for high school students ages 13-17 who demonstrate interest and talent in both advocacy and cinematography. Participants are given the opportunity to produce an original short film on the advocacy of their choice.


For further information on either Midtown South Community Council and/or its MSCC Creative Lab, please feel free to contact our team.

John Mudd Sharon Jasprizza Thomas Vilorio President of MSCC Director of Community Services of MSCC Director of Creative Lab (917) 520-3009 (516) 312-6190 (347) 556-1060