Elephant-in-the-Room Series

From Feb 07, 2019 to May 02, 2019

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

In 2018, New Hampshire Theatre Project launched a provocative series featuring four plays about subjects that we as a society often have difficulty discussing. Each event was moderated by Timothy Barretto, known for his UNH courses on Managing Conflict in the Community, who facilitated discussions among audience members, artists, and a panel of experts on the topic. Questions focused 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.

NHTP's Elephant-in-the-Room Series will be back in 2019 with new topics for discussion on the first Thursday of the month:

February 7 - Eating Disorders & Body Image  
March 7 - Opioid Crisis & Family  
April 4 - School Safety in the 21st Century
May 2 - Suicide & Self-Harm


NHTP's Elephant-in-the-Room Series 2017-18


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. 

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:

The third event in New Hampshire Theatre Project’s provocative new Elephant-in-the-Room Series of playreadings and community discussion focused 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. Panelists include Elizabeth Miller, Director of Safe Harbor Recovery Center; Vicki Hebert, Coalition Coordinator for the Dover Police Department's Drug Free Communities Program; and Karla Pilla, a recovery coach with Safe Harbor.

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

West End Studio Theatre, 959 Islington Street, Portsmouth
All proceeds to benefit Hospice Help Foundation, Portsmouth NH

The final event in New Hampshire Theatre Project’s provocative Elephant-in-the-Room Series of playreadings and community discussion focused on the topic of the Death & Dying, featuring a reading of Constellations by Nick Payne, with actors CJ Lewis and Colleen A. Madden.  This brilliant new script takes us on a journey through parallel universes and the multiple nuances of loving relationships, including how two people who care deeply about each other cope with enormous loss and end of life questions.  Panelists included Dr. Sarah MacDuffie, DO, a Palliative Care Physician with Wentworth Health Partners, working closely with the hospitalist team at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital; Patricia Coughlin, a Palliative Care Social Worker at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital;  Jane Cummings, a nurse by training who has been a hospice volunteer for many years, and Rev.  Maren Tirabassi.

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