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Theater of War Productions has established a roster of over 20 projects, each providing a nuanced approach to pressing public health and social justice issues.

  • Pandemic & Climate Crisis

    Pandemic & Climate Crisis

    The Oedipus Project

    Dramatic Reading of Oedipus the King, by Sophocles

    Translated, Directed, and Facilitated Bryan Doerries

    The Oedipus Project presents acclaimed actors reading scenes from Sophocles’ Oedipus the King as a catalyst for powerful, constructive, global conversations about the climate crisis, ecological disaster, environmental justice, and healing online conversations about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon diverse communities throughout the world. Sophocles’ ancient play, first performed in 429 BC, just after the first wave of a plague that killed nearly one-third of the Athenian population, is a story of arrogant leadership, ignored prophecy, intergenerational curses, and a pestilence and ecological collapse that ravages the archaic city of Thebes. Seen through this lens, Oedipus the King appears to have been a powerful tool for helping Athenians communalize trauma and loss, while interrogating their own complicit role in the suffering, not just of those around them but of generations to come.

    Oscar Isaac plays Oedipus Screenshot of online premiere
  • Pandemic & Climate Crisis

    Poetry for the Pandemic

    Using poetry as a catalyst for an Intergenerational performance and discussion during the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Pandemic & Climate Crisis

    An Enemy of The People

    Dramatic Reading of An Enemy of the People, by Henrik Ibsen

    Adapted, directed, and facilitated by Bryan Doerries

    An Enemy of the People will present acclaimed actors, public health leaders, scientists, journalists, elected officials, and local community members performing dramatic readings of scenes from Henrik Ibsen’s 1882 play An Enemy of the People to help frame powerful, guided audience discussions aimed at generating connection, understanding, compassion, moral repair, and much-needed healing. The play tells the story of a doctor who discovers the water supply in his small, rural town has been poisoned by a tannery. Despite his efforts to convey the truth to the public, the doctor fails to save his community from environmental disaster and is ultimately scapegoated for his whistleblowing. An Enemy of the People was first performed in Norway in 1882, and yet it speaks to the present moment as if it were written for our times — to the corrosive influence of power and money in politics, the distortions of the media, and the many other challenges to public health in our culture today, especially during times of crisis.

    David Strathairn plays Dr. Stockmann National Academy of Sciences
  • Racialized Police Violence

    Racialized Police Violence

    Antigone in Ferguson

    Dramatic Reading of Antigone, by Sophocles

    Translated and Directed by Bryan Doerries

    Music Composed By Phil Woodmore

    Antigone in Ferguson is a groundbreaking project that fuses dramatic readings by acclaimed actors of Sophocles’ Antigone with live choral music performed by a diverse choir, including activists, youth, teachers, police officers, and concerned citizens from St. Louis, Missouri and New York City, culminating in powerful, healing discussions about racialized violence, police brutality, systemic oppression, gender-based violence, health inequality, and social justice. Antigone in Ferguson was conceived in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in 2014, through a collaboration between Theater of War Productions and community members from Ferguson, MO, and premiered at Normandy High School, Michael Brown’s alma mater, in September of 2016.

    De-Rance Blaylock sings in Antigone in Ferguson photo by Gregg Richards
  • Caregiving & Death

    Caregiving & Death

    End of Life

    Dramatic Reading of Women of Trachis + Philoctetes, by Sophocles

    Translated and Directed by Bryan Doerries

    End of Life presents readings of ancient Greek plays in public settings and medical communities as a catalyst for facilitated discussions about challenges faced by patients, families, and health professionals today around end of life care. This unique, participatory event is intended to promote powerful, open discussion among diverse communities - public and professional - fostering compassion, cooperation, and understanding about living with chronic suffering and the mortality we all share.

    Frances McDormand
  • Caregiving & Death

    King Lear Project

    Dramatic Reading of King Lear, by William Shakespeare

    Adapted and Directed by Bryan Doerries

    The King Lear Project presents streamlined readings of scenes from Shakespeare’s King Lear to engage diverse audiences—including older adults, caregivers, and family members—in open, healing, constructive, discussions about the challenges of aging, dementia, and caring for friends and loved ones.

    James Earl Jones as Lear, Linda Powell as Cordelia photo by Beowulf Sheehan
  • Caregiving & Death

    Theater of War Frontline

    Dramatic Reading of Ajax + Oedipus the King + Philoctetes + Women of Trachis, by Sophocles

    Translated, Directed, and Facilitated by Bryan Doerries

    Theater of War Frontline is an innovative project—developed by Theater of War Productions, the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and the Johns Hopkins Program in Arts, Humanities & Health—that presents dramatic readings by acclaimed actors of scenes from ancient Greek plays for audiences of frontline medical professionals to open up powerful dialogue about difficult subjects, fostering a sense of connection and promoting health-seeking behavior. By presenting ancient plays to doctors, nurses, EMTs, respiratory therapists, and the frontline community about emotionally-charged, ethically complex situations, Theater of War Frontline aims to create a brave space for open, candid dialogue and reflection, fostering compassion, a renewed sense of community, and positive action.

    Tow Medical Highlight
  • Caregiving & Death

    The Nurse Antigone

    Dramatic Reading of Antigone, by Sophocles

    A groundbreaking project by and for nurses, The Nurse Antigone presents dramatic readings of Sophocles’ Antigone on Zoom—featuring professional actors and a chorus of frontline nurses—to help frame powerful, guided discussions about the unique challenges faced by nurses before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Nurse Antigone Audience Participant Ellen Wallop
  • The Susie King Taylor Project

    Dramatic Reading of Reminiscences of My Life in Camp, by Susie King Taylor

    A dramatic reading of Susie King Taylor's memoir to help frame powerful, guided discussions about challenges faced by Nurses and Veterans.

    Susie King Taylor in 1902 Library of Congress
  • War & Mental Health

    War & Mental Health

    Theater of War

    Dramatic Reading of Ajax + Philoctetes, by Sophocles

    Translated and Directed by Bryan Doerries

    Rooted in discussions about the invisible and visible wounds of war, the company’s hallmark project is designed to increase awareness of psychological health issues, disseminate information on available resources, and foster greater community cohesion.

    Reg E. Cathey plays Ajax in Theater of War photo by Gregg Richards
  • War & Mental Health

    The Tecmessa Project

    Dramatic Reading of Ajax, by Sophocles

    Translated and Directed by Bryan Doerries

    The Tecmessa Project presents readings of Sophocles’s Ajax, an ancient play about the visible and invisible wounds of war, as the catalyst for discussions focusing on the unique challenges faced by military family members, including couples, children, caregivers, and communities. This project is designed to promote understanding, compassion, and positive action.

    Frances McDormand plays Tecmessa photo by Gregg Richards
  • Theater of War: Hector, Andromache, and the Death of Astyanax

    Dramatic Reading of Iliad, Book VI, by Homer The Trojan Women, by Euripides

    Translated, directed, and facilitated Bryan Doerries

    Theater of War: Hector, Andromache, and the Death of Astyanax presents live, dramatic readings of selections from Homer’s Iliad, Book VI and scenes from The Trojan Women by Euripides—featuring acclaimed actors and a Chorus of students, from a variety of backgrounds, whose lives have been impacted by war—to help frame powerful, healing dialogue about the human cost of war, centered on the suffering of children and civilians. The project uses ancient texts that explore and depict the dehumanization of war to create a vocabulary for openly discussing challenging and divisive subjects, with the aim of generating compassion, empathy, moral repair, understanding, and positive action.

    Jeffrey Wright with the inaugural chorus of Palestinian and Jewish Columbia University Students. Selfie by Jeffrey Wright
  • Incarceration

    Prometheus in Prison

    Dramatic Reading of Prometheus Bound, by Aeschylus

    Translated and Directed by Bryan Doerries

    Prometheus in Prison is an innovative public health project that presents readings of Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound, an ancient Greek play about god who is imprisoned for stealing fire and giving it to humans, as a catalyst for powerful discussions about the challenges faced by individuals, families, and communities whose lives have been touched by the criminal justice system. For the past decade years, this groundbreaking project has been used to open up healing dialogue in a variety of settings, including prisons, detention centers, and public venues throughout the country and the world.

  • Addiction & Substance Abuse

    Addiction & Substance Abuse

    Addiction Performance Project

    Dramatic Reading of Long Day's Journey Into Night, by Eugene O'neill

    Directed by Bryan Doerries

    Designed to raise awareness about opiate addiction and alcohol abuse, the project is intended to promote dialogue about helping those who are struggling with addiction.

  • Addiction & Substance Abuse

    The Dionysus Project

    Dramatic Reading of The Bacchae, by Euripides

    Translated and Directed by Bryan Doerries

    The Dionysus Project is an innovative public health project that presents readings of scenes from Euripides' Bacchae, an ancient Greek play about the destructive power of intoxication, as a catalyst for town hall discussions about the impact of substance abuse and addiction upon individuals, families, and communities. The project uses an ancient Greek tragedy, written nearly 2500 years ago, to engage audiences in crucial discussions about the timelessness of the human struggle with substance abuse and addiction, as well as resources and solutions that communities can utilize today.

    Jesse Eisenberg plays Pentheus in The Dionysus Project photo by Wyatt Mason
  • Addiction & Substance Abuse

    Rum and Vodka

    Dramatic Reading of Rum and Vodka, by Conor Mcpherson

    Directed by Bryan Doerries

    This project presents a one-man Irish play about a 24-year-old whose life is coming apart, due to drinking, in order to provoke discussions about alcoholism and addiction within diverse communities.

    Adam Driver performs in Rum and Vodka
  • Refugees & Immigration

    Refugees & Immigration

    The Suppliants Project

    Dramatic Reading of The Suppliants, by Aeschylus

    Translated and Directed by Bryan Doerries

    The Suppliants Project tells the timeless story of fifty female refugees seeking asylum at a border from forced marriage and domestic violence. The play not only depicts the struggle of these women to cross into safety, but also the internal struggle within the city that ultimately receives them. Using a 2,500-year-old tragedy by Aeschylus as a catalyst for powerful gatherings and crucial conversations, The Suppliants Project engages diverse audiences in humanizing, constructive dialogue about the challenges and impact of war, migration, and seeking asylum.

    2019 12 13 the Suppliants Project 210
  • Homelessness

    The Oedipus at Colonus Project

    Dramatic Reading of Oedipus at Colonus, by Sophocles

    The Oedipus at Colonus Project presents readings of scenes from Sophocles’ final play, Oedipus at Colonus, as catalyst for powerful, community-driven conversations about homelessness, the immigration and refugee crisis, and the challenges of eldercare during and after the pandemic.

    Frankie Faison, Moses Ingram, David Zayas, and Marjolaine Goldsmith in The Oedipus at Colonus Project
  • Racism & Social Justice

    Racism & Social Justice

    The Drum Major Instinct

    Dramatic Reading of The Drum Major Instinct, by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    Directed by Bryan Doerries

    Composed and Arranged by Phil Woodmore

    Commissioned by BRIC, The Drum Major Instinct engages audiences in dialogue about racism, inequality, and social justice. The performance features a dramatization of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final sermon, embodied by prominent actors and supported by a large gospel choir, composed of singers, activists, police officers, and musicians from St. Louis, MO, and Brooklyn, NY.

    John Leggette sings in The Drum Major Instinct photo by Gregg Richards
  • Racism & Social Justice

    Frederick Douglass

    Directed by Bryan Doerries

    Frederick Douglass is a project that presents dramatic readings of Douglass' speeches by professional actors as a catalyst for powerful dialogue about racism, inequality, civil rights, education, and the legal system with the objective of fostering compassion, understanding, and positive action.

    Freedmans Frederick Douglass
  • Racism & Social Justice

    Mothers of The Movement

    A conversation with Gwen Carr—mother of Eric Garner, author of This Stops Today—and Valerie Bell—mother of Sean Bell, author of Just 23—about their tireless work as Mothers of the Movement to end police violence.

  • Racism & Social Justice

    Antigone in Savannah

    Dramatic Reading of Antigone, by Sophocles

    Translated, directed, and facilitated by Bryan Doerries

    Music composed and conducted by Dr. Philip A. Woodmore

    Dramatic readings of Sophocles’ Antigone with live music to frame powerful dialogue about honoring the dead and healing historical wounds.

  • Gun Violence

    Gun Violence


    Dramatic Reading of Madness of Hercules, by Euripides

    Translated and Directed by Bryan Doerries

    Drawing from an ancient Greek tragedy about a vicious act of violence committed by an angry man with an invincible weapon, this project aims to generate powerful dialogue between concerned citizens, members of the law enforcement community, victims and perpetrators of gun violence, and the general public.

    Obi Abili plays Hercules photo by Gregg Richards
  • Domestic Violence

    Domestic Violence

    Domestic Violence Project

    Dramatic Reading of A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams

    Directed by Bryan Doerries

    Addressing the impact of domestic violence on individuals, families, and communities, the Domestic Violence Project premiered in Maine in April 2013 and will be touring all five boroughs of New York City under the current PAIR residency.

    Bryce Pinkham plays Stanley in the Domestic Violence Project
  • Domestic Violence


    Dramatic Reading of Medea, by Euripides

    Translated and Directed by Bryan Doerries

    Medea timelessly depicts how scorned passion can lead to revenge and, sometimes, unthinkable violence. This project, which premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in June 2016, delves into under-discussed mental health issues that affect women and their families.

    Bill Camp and Elizabeth Marvel photo by Howard Korn
  • Patient and Impatient Griselda

    Dramatic Reading of Patient and Impatient Griselda: The Decameron and The Decameron Project, by Giovanni Boccaccio and Margaret Atwood

    Theater of War Productions and Margaret Atwood return to the Toronto International Festival of Authors with an exciting new collaboration exploring power and control, domestic violence, and family dynamics by way of two versions of the same story, one written by Giovanni Boccaccio in 1348 during the bubonic plague and the other by Atwood in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. In Bocaccio’s version, a woman named Griselda remains in an abusive and controlling relationship, showing great patience and forbearance in the face of her husband’s sadism and cruelty. In Atwood’s version, Griselda takes matters in her own hands and, with the help of her sister, turns the tables on her husband.

    This free, public event featured a live, dramatic reading of the “Patient Griselda” story from Boccaccio's Decameron by Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Fleishman is in Trouble), Maev Beaty (Beau is Afraid, Mouthpiece), and Araya Mengesha (Tiny Pretty Things, Nobody). Then, in response, Margaret Atwood performed “Impatient Grisleda,” a story that is narrated to a group of humans in quarantine by an alien that looks like an octopus. The readings of both texts was followed by immediate responses by community panelists and culminated in a guided audience discussion, facilitated by Bryan Doerries (Artistic Director, Theater of War Productions).

    Co-presented by Theater of War Productions and Toronto International Festival of Authors.

    This hybrid presentation took place in person at the Toronto Harbourfront Centre Theatre and on Zoom Webinar on September 30, 2023.

  • Ethics & The Justice System

    Ethics & The Justice System

    Theater of Law

    Dramatic Reading of Eumenides, by Aeschylus

    Translated and Directed by Bryan Doerries

    A Collaboration with The Forum on Law, Culture, & Society at NYU School of Law

    Developed with New York University’s Forum on Law, Culture, & Society, and designed as a professional development program for legal professionals, as well as for the general public, Theater of Law drives conversations about moral justice in the court system. The project is aimed at engaging audiences who have in some way been disenfranchised by the law in constructive, powerful dialogue.

    Reg E. Cathey playing Apollo in Theater of Law
  • Political Violence

    Political Violence

    Acts of Violence

    Dramatic Reading of Thyestes, by Seneca

    Translated and Directed by Bryan Doerries

    Acts of Violence presents scenes from Seneca's Thyestes, a Roman tragedy that was written during the gruesome reign of Nero, as a catalyst for town hall discussions about the impact of political violence upon individuals, families, caregivers, health and human rights advocates, communities, and nations.

    Bill Camp
  • Natural Disaster

    Natural Disaster

    Book of Job

    Dramatic Reading of The Book of Job, by Translated by Stephen Mitchell

    Directed and Adapted by Bryan Doerries

    The Book of Job Project presents dramatic readings by acclaimed actors of The Book of Job as a catalyst for powerful, guided conversations about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon individuals, families, and communities. The Book of Job is an ancient Hebrew poem that timelessly explores how humans behave when faced with disaster, pestilence and injustice.

    Paul Giamatti, Arliss Howard, and Bryan Doerries in Joplin, MO photo by Wyatt Mason
  • Natural Disaster

    The Tohoku Project

    Dramatic Reading of Sumidagawa, by Kanze Motomasa

    Directed and Adapted by Bryan Doerries

    Facilitated by Setsu Hanasaki

    Translated by Nao Suzuki

    Developed in collaboration with the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia University and Setagaya Public Theatre

    The Tohoku Project: Sumidagawa presents powerful dramatic readings by professional actors of Sumidagawa, a Noh play from the early 15th Century that timelessly depicts the unique challenges faced by parents in the wake of unimaginable disaster. Each reading is followed by the responses of community panelists, culminating in a lively, facilitated audience discussion. This interactive event promotes healthy, constructive dialogue about the lasting impact of the Tohoku disaster upon individuals, families, and communities—fostering compassion, understanding, awareness, and positive action.

    Tohoku Project
  • Genocide

    The Investigation

    Dramatic Reading of The Investigation, by Peter Weiss

    Theater of War Productions and the Museum of Jewish Heritage, in partnership with the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, present readings of scenes Peter Weiss' play The Investigation, a piece of documentary theater adapted from the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials of 1963-1965. This project centers on guided discussions about mass murder and its lasting impact upon individuals, families, communities, and countries throughout the world. Performed by a diverse cast, including international performers from communities affected by genocide, The Investigation seeks to generate powerful dialogue across cultures and communities about the human capacity for evil, as well as the systems and hierarchies that create the conditions for unthinkable violence.