Teya Presentations: The Heart and Soul of Story

Invite  Teya Sepinuck, Founder and Artistic Director of Theater of Witness, to give the Heart and Soul of Story program – an inspiring multi-media program of films and life stories from her work creating original testimonial theater with people who have lived through trauma, marginalization and/or oppression. This work with survivors of violence, war, prison and resettlement illuminates the healing power of deep listening, giving voice and “finding the medicine” in stories of struggle, injustice and transformation. Teya will speak personally about the power of bearing witness and using personal and collective story to inspire healing, empathy and peace-building both for performers and audiences.

Teya is currently collaborating with Jefferson and ARTZ Philadelphia on an innovative two-year project called HeART Stories: Building Empathy Through the Arts.







Walk in my Shoes – Police and Community Project

Police and Community Members Share Their Stories and Vision for the Future.

The tremendous wounds of our society are in full reveal.
What are the Stories that need to be heard?

In this time of fear, turmoil and anger, Theater of Witness brings people together across divides of difference to bear witness to the beauty of meaningful engagement, cultivate empathy and truly listen to the stories of people we’ve never heard before. This is the time for a new story. One that taps into the spirit of love and connection between us all.

Photo by Ray Holman

Photo by Ray Holman

‘Walk in my Shoes’  -new Theater of Witness Project performed by 4 Philadelphia police and 3 community members explores societal wounds and shares the performers’ stories and visions of the future. The production premiered in November 2017 to extraordinary audience responses:

Extraordinarily moving. Courageous performers. I was blown away.

Speechless, Profound. Real. Deep. Connected right into the core of the wound and into the Breath of Life. Their wounds Breath and love is …. Thank you!

This was the most powerful performance I have ever seen. It is gut-wrenching.  I so admire all these men and women who have the courage to share, to stand up and let the world know what they feel and what their journey has been like, what makes them who they are.  As difficult as it is to watch and hear it actually provides a ray of hope.  If we can hear and understand one another maybe, just maybe we will learn to respect and love one another.   

We are now raising funds to edit the video of the production and planning more performances for fall of 2018. FOr more information, contact Teya at teya@theaterofwitness.org

Project Partners:

Philadelphia Police Inspector, Altovise Love-Craighead

Theater of Witness Artistic Director, Teya Sepinuck

See our Crowdfunding Video and appeal:


To support this seminal work, please donate.


HeART Stories: Building Empathy Through the Arts

We are delighted to announce that The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage has awarded a large grant for a new collaboration between Thomas Jefferson University, ARTZ Philadelphia and Theater of Witness. This Pew Center-funded project, ‘HeART Stories: Building Empathy through the Arts’ will join artists, medical students, people living with dementia, and their care partners in a creative process of empathy-building, storytelling and relationship-forming that will culminate in an original theater performance work in September 2019.

Furthering Jefferson’s development of creative pedagogy at the intersection of art, healthcare and wellness, the program is guided by the principle that the arts provide a rich context for practicing habits of emotional intelligence that are essential to the successful practice of medicine.

As part of this project, Teya will lead listening and creative process circles of students who will engage in sharing their own stories through a variety creative methods. A select group will work with over an extended period of time to develop a full Theater of Witness production about what it means to become a healer that will premiere in September 2019.

We are thrilled to help Jefferson create the next generation of healers, people who listen through their hearts as well as their stethoscopes.


A New Dementia Film Portrait

We are creating a new dementia film portrait highlighting the spirit and creativity of a dynamic and compelling couple who are living with dementia. We are collaborating with filmmaker Michael Attie to create a cinematic portrait of Carl and Susan who are living with the diagnosis of dementia. Rather than focusing on the narrative of loss, the film will be an evocative series of images that highlights how art and creativity can reveal the spirit and deep personhood of people living with dementia. This is a love story.

The film we become available this year. To be notified when, please email us at: teya@theaterofwitness.org.


Becoming the Vessel
Theater of Witness Training

New Dates!:
Wednesday June 28th, Thursday June 29th,
Friday June 30, Saturday July 1,
Sunday July 2.

CultureTrust of Greater Philadelphia
1315 Walnut Street, Suite 320
Philadelphia PA 19107
Cost is $500
(Some assistance available)

Elements include:

  • Intensive Immersion into Theatre of Witness Methods
  • Practicing of the 12 Guiding Principles
  • Deep Partnerships
  • Autobiographical and Biographical Projects
  • Scripting, Directing Techniques
  • Practicing Compassion, Not Knowing and Creativity
  • Study of Theatre of Witness Social Justice Projects
  • Becoming the Vessel
  • Creating Safe Community and Collective Story

To register: teya@theaterofwitness.org

This intensive introductory course focuses on strengthening and expanding the practitioners’ ability to bear witness, ‘find the medicine’ and work creatively with stories of suffering and transformation. Students practice deep listening, and how to become vessels of steadiness, compassion and wisdom, for themselves as well as for others. In order to create a safe environment in which to do this work, most of our practice work will involve creating theatre from students’ own life stories both individually and in partnership with one other class member.



Theater of Witness
“Highlights and Heroes”

Teya Sepinuck, Founder and Artistic Director of Theater of Witness presents an inspiring multi-media program of film excerpts and life stories from her work creating original testimonial theater with those whose stories haven’t been heard in society.

Drawing on her work with ex-combatants, victims and survivors of war, prisoners and their families, refugees & asylum seekers, and those affected by inner city violence, poverty and homelessness. Teya will speak about the power of bearing witness, bringing participants together across divides of difference, and using personal and collective story to inspire healing and peace building both for the performers as well as audiences.

The one- hour program, is followed by discussion and questions.


*Wednesday May 10th 7:30pm   Parrish Hall, Church of St. Martin- in- the -Fields,  8000 St. Martin’s Lane Chestnut Hill PA

*Sunday June 4th  7:00pm,  Summit Presbyterian Church (Greene Street Entrance)  6757 Greene Street, Philadelphia

We are currently interested in offering our Theater of Witness Highlights and Heroes Presentation to congregations, community groups, and at intimate invitational home gatherings. To book a presentation, contact Teya at teya@theaterofwitness.org

Theater of Witness of CultureTrust Greater Philadelphia