THEATER OF WITNESS
THEATER OF WITNESS
Theater of Witness is a form of testimonial performance and documentary films performed by people sharing their personal and collective stories of suffering, transformation and peace. Developed more than thirty years ago by Artistic Director Teya Sepinuck, the work brings people together across divides of difference to bear witness to each other’s life experiences. Performers who have survived trauma, marginalization, oppression, and the complexity of the human experience, address some of society’s most challenging issues from a multiplicity of perspectives.
The performances weave the performers’ stories together with music, spoken word, visual imagery and film into dynamic theater that humanizes the ’other’ and cultivates compassion and empathy. The result is authentic, raw and powerful theater that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit.
Theater of Witness collaborates with filmmakers to document our live performances and behind the scenes processes. These are disseminated in DVD and on the web. All the films feature original performers central to the productions, and are designed to give a broader audience an opportunity to experience the stories of courage and transformation that Theater of Witness has presented over the years. Workshops, study guides and discussion questions can be made available to promote thoughtful exploration of the issues.
Teya’s book; ‘Theatre of Witness – Finding the Medicine in Stories of Suffering, Transformation and Peace’ is a further illumination of this work.
WHO ARE THE PERFORMERS
In these divided times, a story can warm hearts. A story can heal. A story can bring us together. Theater of Witness brings ordinary yet extraordinary people together, whose lived experiences inspire connection, healing and peace building. We all need to be inspired by stories of resilience, and transformation. Theater of Witness invites audiences to put a face and heart to complex societal issues, cultivates empathy, and celebrates the power of the human spirit to grow and transform.
As one of Theater of Witness’s dearest supporters and colleagues, Eamonn Deane from Derry Northern Ireland said : “Theatre of Witness is a modern phenomenon based on the oldest of needs – the need to tell our story, to be listened to, to find healing for ourselves and for everyone in our ability to empathize, to be generous and find light in the darkest pit.”
Theater of Witness projects have been created in the US, Poland and Northern Ireland. Performances are mounted in theaters, schools, congregations, community centers, prisons, and for conferences. We bring the work where it will reach the people who may not otherwise have access.