Theatre News

Mission: To provide plays, publications, and programs that educate, entertain, and inspire happy, healthy, and holistic lives. And to use the process of theater and practical training to teach youth, especially youth-at-risk, the attitudes, skills and resources that lead to successful lives. *Practical Training includes employability, literacy, and health.

History: Pin Points was incorporated and founded by its present executive director, Ersky Freeman, in 1980. As a small community-based grass roots organization, Pin Points traditionally creates plays, within its youth development programs, in some of the most impoverished neighborhoods in Washington, then transforms them into professional productions that tour nationally. In 2003, Pin Points began performing internationally in Asia (Guam, Japan, Korea, and Singapore), Canada, and Germany. These productions have been performed in 37 states and 9 countries. Revenue from the performance fees have been the primary funding source for our after-school youth development programs.

Recent Activities and Accomplishments (2016):

  • Pin Points’s teen pregnancy prevention program was so effective in engaging and training youth to make choices that steered them completely away from pregnancies that we were awarded our second $100,000 grant from the DC government’s Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Campaign. Pin Points is now recruiting additional youth, ages 12-19, in Wards 5, 6, 7, and 8, for 2016-2017 activities.
  • Pin Points focused on strategic planning for diversifying our services as well as our funding sources. The process of strategic planning has decreased our emphasis on immediate funding for an increase in future, long-term funding and an increase in the reach and effectiveness of our youth development programs. In partnership with Higher Hopes, we are engaging the most vulnerable youth in the most economically challenged Wards in D.C., i.e., the communities of Brooklyn Manor (Ward 5), Arthur Cappers (Ward 6), Kenilworth and Benning Park (Ward 7), and Congress Park (Ward 8). The data above show that 72% of teen births come from Wards 5,7 and 8 and out of the 81 teen births reported for Ward 6, the cluster data shows that these births were disproportionally represented by low income communities. In the Real-Eyeez study, youth from the target communities shared that sex and violence is viewed as a normal part of life and without expectations of a bright future.
  • Pin Points is equally concerned with the physical and emotional health of families in Wards 5, 6, 7, and 8. The expense of health care and the lack of education for this impoverished population is an ongoing problem that we are now addressing with our Medical Missionary Program. It features doctors and varied medical practitioners who teach and offer effective therapies that are as effective, but less expensive, safer, and faster than the more expensive prescription drug therapies and repeated doctors’ visits. The information is presented in the form of free one-on-one consultations, health screenings, seminars, edu-taining plays, and classes. The Medical Missionary Program was brought to DC through the training of 3 members of Pin Points who received their training in the Beehives Medical Missionary Program in Show Low, Arizona ( This program is especially designed to save the lives and treat the disabilities of church congregants, offering effective therapies that are faith-based as well as science-based and evidence-based.
  • Pin Points has revamped, restructured, and upgraded its financial management system as we prepare for a complete audit.
  • Pin Points is recruiting new board members, with emphasis on accomplished medical personnel, to help establish the effectiveness and expansion of Pin Points free or affordable health programs throughout Wards 5, 6, 7, and 8.

Population Served:

o Wards 5, 6, 7 & 8, contain more than 40 percent of DC’s population living in poverty. The major health challenges are death from HIV/AIDS, heart disease, and homicide. In a stretch of eleven years, seventy-five percent (75%) of Washington, D.C.’s homicides occurred East of the River which has created a mental expectation of poverty for generations. (Metro Police Department Public Information) Combined, Wards 7 and 8 have the highest rates of teen pregnancy, unemployment, rate of recidivism, persons living below the poverty level, and households headed by single women in the District of Columbia. (DC HIV/AIDS Administration and Ward 7 HIV/AIDS Collaborative)

Partnerships and References:

  • Higher Hopes: Led by community activist and psychologist, Dr. Bruce Purnell, who fathered the “Redefining Cool Movement” for youth development programs and efficacy evaluations.
  • *Pen or Pencil and the Kiamsha Youth Organization lead the White House initiative to assure youth avoid the *PENitentiary by training youth and their teachers in the use of history to abstain from sex, drugs, violence, and racism – “our modern-day slave masters.”
  • Department of Health (HAHSTA): Provided HIV/AIDS Prevention Certification and materials for distribution to Pin Points’s clientele and trained staff in the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and TB.
  • Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS): Have a history of providing funding opportunities, training, and resources to our adjudicated youth..
  • Progressive Life Center: Has provided quality mental health and social services, payment for services, resources, training, and youth for Pin Points’s youth development programs.
  • Department of Labor’s “Developing Young Professionals” Program: DOL has paid youth to work for Pin Points while they learn employment skills.
  • Brookland Manor Theater Music Studios teaches youth techniques in theater and music to raise their skill levels to work with and receive pay from Pin Points’s professional touring company.
  • United Planning Organization: Provided facilities, performance spaces, youth, and resources for Pin Points’s training programs in life skills and the performing arts.

References include the Attorney General’s Office, Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, ICE Homeland Security, FEMA, Youth Rehabilitation Services, US Marshals Service, the DC Public Library, Department of Agriculture, US Department of Threat Reduction, US Army, Army National Guard, Armed Forces Entertainment (7-week overseas tour), Drug Enforcement Administration, Anacostia High School summer programs, Resources for Inner City Kids, and various schools, churches, and community centers throughout D.C. and the United States. 

   Our annual two-month tour took us from DC's Gallaudet College for the Deaf to Louisiana to Des Moines, Iowa where we stayed for four days of performances, thanks to Rita Davenport. This angel has brought us to Iowa for 11 performances over the years.  The touring troupe completed its last performance at DC's National Guard Armory with HOOKED ON LOVE for Women's History Month.  Many of the soldiers in the audience were being deployed to Iraq so it was an especially humbling event. 
   From the DC Armory, we went to Brookland Manor Theater Music Studio in Ward 5, where we ran both our after school program and our summer youth program for a year, without funding - until we received a $25,000 donation from Eugene Ford.  We literally have to walk through drug dealers to get to the rehearsal space, but that doesn't stop the neighborhood kids from coming . . .  and coming!  Feels good to be needed!  
   In partnership with the EOR Clergy, Police, Community, Partnership (, Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, and United Planning Organization our mentorship programs are taking in youngsters from the Juvenile Courts - providing youth with interview methods, theater skills, jobs and job training, and most importantly - caring adults.

   Our globetrotting pros presented ninety-four performances for 14,100 people.  That's an average of 150 people per show!  A big THANKS goes out to the touring company for they are the reason Pin Points is alive today after 30 years of service.  When grants and donations dry up, we can always depend on revenue from our life-saving touring troupes to pull us through. 
   Back on the home front, we sent seven youth to the Success College Prep Summer Camp in Connecticut thanks to the Success Foundation.  Youth still have a 90 percent college enrollment rate.  Our after-school program, "Mind, Body, and Service," is just as Success-full.  Because of its effectiveness in teaching theater, public speaking and the formulas for success, our after-school program was also conducted at  First Baptist Church and expanded to Friendship Public Charter School, Gallaudet College for the Deaf, the United Planning Organization - and landed at Ancostia High School for a 10 week Youth Summer Employment program in conjunction with DOES.  

The D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities and their generous fifteen thousand dollar grant literally saved our lives - again.  It sounds too small to be lifesaving but, as our supporters’ know, we are one group in need that can stretch a dollar. 

Two decades ago, the struggle of running a nonprofit brought us to a cold reality, Pin Points Theatre must be closed down.  Days after that sad decision, The Commission shocked us with our first grant, fifteen hundred dollars.  We then decided to try one more year and turned the fifteen hundred into 5,000 brochures and a mail-out of 5,000 pieces that started a chain reaction of performances throughout the D.C. community, and later, the nation – for years to come! 

So even a small grant can save a nonprofits’ life – which brings us to 2007.  The D.C. Commission’s 2007 Grants-in-Aid, provided funding for the following successes:

PARTNERSHIPS FOR AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS:  We operated a temporary (four months) after school program at Arch Training Center and First Baptist , East of the River.  The rent was killing us at Arch and we failed to sustain both programs for the whole year, but we did send six youngsters to Connecticut for a college-prep summer camp and we introduced nine youngsters to theater.  One fifteen year old, Marissa Sims, won second place in NAACP’s ACT-CO competition and has now taken a step up, rehearsing for future performances with our main stage professionals.

TWO PERFORMANCE/WORKSHOPS for 20 youth at Arch Training Center; a mixture of Arch students and youth trapped in the court system - in which 85 percent came from single family homes with incomes below the poverty level.  Our presentations were made possible from additional funding from our other guardian angel, the Far Southeast Strengthening Family Collaborative.

PERFORMANCES AT NEW VENUES IN D.C. included places where professional theater seldom travels: Jo-Jo’s Restaurant, Bus Boys & Poets, First Baptist Church, Terrell Elementary School,  River Terrace Elementary School, the Smart Moves youth program on Sheriff Road,  Potters House, The Learning Communities Initiatives, Ron Brown Middle School and a host of agencies in downtown D.C.; all organizations unable to afford our standard fees.

 TO THE DOROTHY G. BENDER FOUNDATION, we give our sincerest thanks for their kind donation for supplies at our after-school program.  The Commission’s grant allowed us to pay a proposal writer, Thavma Phillips, to submit a proposal to the Bender Foundation.

OTHER ADMINISTRATIVE TASKS, again paid for by the D.C. Commission grant, helped us find and form new partnerships with Cabel Foundation, First Baptist Church, and DCTV who produced Pin Points’ commercial which will be played daily on DC’s Cable Channel, from November 16, 2007 to December 2008.



1. PERFORMANCES AND WORKSHOPS: There were 45 performances and workshops in 2006. The highlight was the presentation of THE MEETING at D.C.'s historic Lincoln Theater before an enthusiastic standing-room only crowd. Congratulations to Mark Anderson (the bodyguard) who began his acting career with Pin Points, but is now celebrating his 15-year anniversary. There are three young people from southeast DC who are touring with the professionals this upcoming year - just like Mark!

2. JUNE 24, 2006 - BOARD WEEKEND RETREAT: The board held an all-day retreat and formed committees to expand the presence of Pin Points' youth programs and performances throughout D.C., especially East of the River.

3. JULY 20, 2006 - SUCCESS SUMMER CAMP: Yes, we were successful in taking three D.C. youth out of their distracting environments to put them into an intense three-week college preparatory summer camp with other at-risk youth in Stamford, Connecticut, funded by four-year partner, THE SUCCESS FOUNDATION.

Darius Butler’s role models are Marvin Gaye and his mother. Marvin Gaye?!!! She obviously has an old-school influence on him. The gregarious fifteen year-old wants to become a dentist. Garrni Baker, who’s also fifteen, tells us that his role models are Denzel Washington, pro football player Ray Lewis, and Bill Gates. He’s preparing now to be a professional football player, but the Success Foundation summer camp confirmed what his mother has encouraged – “College first!” Mansur Muhammad, fourteen years-old, says his favorite role model is his dad because “No matter what is thrown at my father, he never gives up.” He will use his father’s perseverance to reach his goal of becoming a designer.

Darius, Garrni and Mansur were privileged to be the only D.C. youth at the exclusive camp. They were taught principles of success that they can use throughout their lives and were definitely given tools for a college-mindset, which is the main focus of the SUCCESS college-prep summer camp. The next step is mentoring provided throughout high school to assure they stay on the path for a successful college career.

Sincerely grateful,

Ersky Freeman
Executive Director


Pin Points uses educational and professional theater as tools to teach life lessons to various audiences, especially youth. Our programs are as follows:

1. FIVE-DAY-A-WEEK AFTER-SCHOOL ACTIVITIES in which teenagers can participate in employment training, mentoring, tutoring, life-skill workshops, writing workshops, plays, field-trips, grant writing for college, the college-prep Success Summer Camp in Connecticut, professional recording of their creations, and activities designed to just have fun.
(FOR AGES 13 TO 18.)

2. ONE-DAY-A-WEEK EDUTAINING WORKSHOPS that feature skits and role-playing around various issues including nutritional health, dangers of pre-marital sex, substance abuse, violence, suicide, employment, etiquette, ethical behavior and successful behavior. (FOR AGES 13 TO 21.)

3. PERFORMANCES OF PROFESSIONAL PLAYS, with most created in southeast Washington, D.C., including Langston Hughes, Nina Simone, 1,001 Inventions, The Meeting (dialogue between Martin & Malcolm), A Dream Deferred (One man Martin Luther King play featuring youth asking Dr. King questions about any issue.) and Kiamsha (youth who perform and present abstinence from sex, drugs and violence workshops to other youth.) (FOR ALL AGES.)

In 2005, we presented 54 presentations of plays & workshops and used the revenue from our touring fees to operate a three-month after-school program at Washington, D.C.’s Police Boys & Girls Club #14. Thanks to Clubhouse director Pamela Wilkerson, our after-school program included production of three professional touring plays of which many youth had never been exposed. The program was so effective in introducing underprivileged youngsters to life-skills, speakers and productions that broadened their views that the board members have begun a 2006 initiative to raise funds to produce a year round after-school program. There were only 19 youth participants but, throughout the year, 197 viewed our productions.

We have formed partnerships with the following non-profits to ensure the effectiveness and longevity of our after-school program: FAIR CHANCE provides fund-raising and capacity building training. ARCH Training Center helps with the training and recruitment of youth. CABEL FOUNDATION provides entertaining financial workshops. KIAMSHA YOUTH EMPOWERMENT ORGANIZATION provides trained teenage workshop facilitators and performers. SUCCESS FOUNDATION provides youth with a three-week college prep summer camp and four year college mentoring in which it provides training and corporate funding to enter underprivileged youth into college. And DRASTIC RECORDING STUDIOS provides recording studio training for youth in which their written creations are turned into professional recordings.

HIGHLIGHTS of 2005 are difficult to select but here are a few:

FEBRUARY 18, 2005: Thanks to sponsorship by US Defense Threat Reduction Agency, we introduced Darmstadt, Germany to the courage and ingenuity of Malcolm and Martin with the play, THE MEETING. Our long-time friend and supporter, Marilee Perkal played the major role in getting us this gig. The highlights were our tour of the churches in Germany and a German high school band playing the Black National Anthem “Lift Every Voice” for us. It was a very kind gesture. The people of Germany were absolutely wonderful. To the citizens of Darmstadt: YOU HAVE OUR LOVE AND SINCERE APPRECIATION. A THOUSAND THANKS FOR THE WARMTH.

APRIL 29, 2005: We built an elaborate set for THE MEETING at the DC Boys & Girls Clubhouse #14 located on Benning Road, NE. It’s amazing what you can do with a multipurpose room, elaborate staging and theater lights!!! Although this production was free to the Clubhouse and the public, just two months before we presented the same performers in Germany for a fee of $10,000 . . . but it’s much more fun to perform in the place you love.

JUNE 18, 2005: It was a historic first; the very first JUNETEENTH CELEBRATION ever in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. They went all the way across the country to ask Pin Points to be the featured performer. We accepted and presented 1,001 Inventions. We could not have asked for a more enthusiastic audience. A little more than three hundred people were there to share in the celebrations.

Well that’s about it for 2005. We are now in the beginning of our major initiative to raise funds for an after school program that will CHANGE for the better any youth that enrolls; youth from families whose median income is $19,000, most in single-parent homes, in D.C.’s highest crime district. Our program can CHANGE them into youth who have the life skills to make them self-sufficient, teach them the power of successful behavior, and give them both the resources and skills to enter and complete college.