Theater of War Productions presents community-specific, theater-based projects that address pressing public health and social issues. Through the presentation of dramatic readings of seminal plays followed by public conversations, the company’s programs confront topics such as combat-related psychological injury, end-of-life care, police and community relations, prison reform, gun violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and substance abuse and addiction. Using theater to build a common vocabulary for openly discussing the impact of these issues, events are designed to generate compassion, empathy, and understanding between diverse audiences. All events are free to the public and feature leading film, theater, and television actors. Notable artists who have led readings include Blythe Danner, Adam Driver, Reg E. Cathey, Jesse Eisenberg, Giancarlo Esposito, Paul Giamatti, Jake Gyllenhaal, Alfred Molina, Frances McDormand, Tamara Tunie, Samira Wiley, Jeffrey Wright, and others.
Theater of War Productions presents over 15 diverse projects targeted at different audiences dealing with a range of community-based issues. Theater of War, the company’s hallmark project, presents readings of Sophocles’ Ajax and Philoctetes to service members and their communities to help initiate conversations about the visible and invisible wounds of war. The goal of the project is to destigmatize psychological injury, increase awareness of post-deployment psychological health issues, disseminate information on available resources, and foster greater family, community, and troop resilience. Theater of War has been presented to military and civilian audiences throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. To date, over 80,000 service members, veterans, and their families have participated in these performances, openly discussing their experiences on deployments and at home.
Additional projects that use Classical Greek texts include Antigone in Ferguson, which utilizes Sophocles’ Antigone to forge conversations and reconciliation between law enforcement and local communities; Hercules in Brooklyn, which employs Euripides’ Madness of Hercules to address gun violence, and Prometheus in Prison, which uses Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound as a catalyst for discussions about the challenges of prisoner rehabilitation. In addition, Theater of War Productions uses modern and contemporary works such as Conor McPherson’s one-man play Rum and Vodka to address alcoholism and substance abuse; Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night for discussions on addiction and drug abuse; and Stephen Belber’s Tape to provoke conversations on sexual violence and assault.
Theater of War Productions was co-founded in 2009 by Bryan Doerries and Phyllis Kaufman, who served as Producing Director from 2009 to 2016. Doerries currently serves as the company’s Artistic Director. In March 2017, he was appointed New York City’s Public Artist in Residence (PAIR). During this two-year residency, he will bring more than 60 Theater of War Productions projects to veterans and civilian communities across all five boroughs. For more information, please visit: www.theaterofwar.nyc