Elephant-in-the-Room Series

From Mar 22, 2018 to May 03, 2018

So much that needs healing in our world... why are we uncomfortable talking about it?

New Hampshire Theatre Project has launched a provocative series featuring four plays about subjects that we as a society often have difficulty discussing: abuse and human trafficking, mental illness, the opioid crisis, and death and dying. Each event will be moderated by Timothy Barretto, known for his UNH courses on Managing Conflict in the Community, who will facilitate discussion among audience members, artists, and a panel of experts on the topic. Questions focus on attitudes about ethical issues involved in the subject over time and today, and our responsibility as a society to bring these issues out of the shadows and into the cultural mainstream.  All events take place at NHTP's home venue, West End Studio Theatre in Portsmouth.

NHTP's Elephant-in-the-Room Series

Next Event: Thursday, March 22, 2018, 7:00 pm
Topic: The Opioid Crisis Effect on Families
Reading: A Wider Circle by Mary Ellen Hedrick
Collaborating Partner:

Event Sponsor:

Admission is free but donations to Safe Harbor Recovery Center will be gratefully accepted.

The third event in New Hampshire Theatre Project’s provocative new Elephant-in-the-Room Series of playreadings and community discussion will focus on the topic of the Opioid Crisis Effect on Families, featuring a reading of A Wider Circle by Mary-Ellen Hedrick.  A playwright and civics teacher from New Hampshire, Mary-Ellen’s previous work, Throw Away People (featured at NHTP’s 2017 Intelligent Theatre Festival), focused on the devastating consequences of heroin addiction for both individuals and the community. As an advocate for the recovery community, she felt compelled to address the topic of addiction as a family disease. With New Hampshire leading the nation in opioid related deaths, this issue is having significant consequences in all of our communities.
New Hampshire Theatre Project is partnering with their Portsmouth West End neighbor, Safe Harbor Recovery Center, on this Elephant-in-the-Room presentation.  A program of Granite Pathways, Safe Harbor Recovery Center is committed to assisting individuals and families impacted by Substance Use Disorder both professionally and personally. 
Following the playreading of A Wider Circle, Timothy Barretto will host a discussion with the audience and a panel of community members working in the field of recovery.  Elizabeth Miller is the Director of Safe Harbor Recovery Center and a member of the Governor’s Recovery Task Force Commission.   Elizabeth is a strong advocate locally, and at the State and Federal levels.  Her advocacy work includes reducing stigma, increasing support services for individuals and families and spreading the word there is HOPE.  Vicki Hebert is the Coalition Coordinator for the Dover Police Department’s Drug Free Communities Program.  She has worked with city leaders to develop policies for first responders, educate medical professionals on stigma and substance use disorders, launched prevention based media campaigns, and worked to install permanent medication drop boxes in the community.  Karla Pilla works with Safe Harbor as a recovery coach.  Her son has struggled with Substance Abuse Disorder for five years and is in the early stages of recovery.  


Thursday, May 3, 2018, 7:00 pm
Topic: Death & Dying
Reading: Constellations by Nick Payne
Collaborating Partner:


Thursday, November 16, 2017, 7:00 pm
Topic: Human Trafficking & Sexual Abuse
Reading: Body & Sold by Deborah Fortson
Collaborating Partner:

Deborah Fortson’s Body & Sold, is based on the true stories of human trafficking in the U.S. While many believe human trafficking is a relic of the past, the discussion will focus on the reasons for its continued existence and what local and global changes need to be made to combat this ugly truth. Panelists include Dr. Alicia W. Peters of the University of New England (UNE), Joi Smith of HAVEN, and Cheri Crider of Courage Speaks NH.  Dr. Peters, associate professor of anthropology and affiliated faculty in the UNE Women and Gender Studies Program, brings a humanities perspective to the discussion. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018, 7:00 pm
Topic: Mental Illness
Reading: Snap! by Regi Carpenter
Collaborating Partner:

Event Sponsor:

Snap! is the story of a sixteen-year-old girl’s descent into mental illness, her commitment to a state mental hospital and her journey back to reality and freedom. Personal admission of hospitalization is still covered in secrecy, rarely treated as directly and honestly as it is in Snap!  Panelists include Dr. Andrew Kaplan and Jennifer Kinsey from Seacoast Mental Health Center, Maren Tirabassi, and Teddi Kenick-Bailey. Maren Tirabassi is a facilitator for many New Hampshire Humanities Council programs.  Teddi Kenick-Bailey is a local actor and community member with personal experience in recovery from mental illness. 

Connect with us