Teya Sepinuck, MS (counseling), is the founder and artistic Director of Theatre of Witness – a form of performance in which the true life stories of those who haven’t been heard in society are performed by the people themselves as a way for audiences to bear witness to issues of suffering, transformation and peace.
For 28 years, through ‘TOVA -Artistic Projects for Social Change’ which she founded and directed, and then through ‘The Playhouse Theatre of Witness Programme’ in Derry Northern Ireland, she has created original theater with trauma survivors, refugees, prisoners, ex-combatants, survivors of abuse. and families who have been deeply impacted by violence. The European Union awarded two multi-year Peace 111 to grants for her work in Northern Ireland with former soldiers, security forces personnel, and victims and witnesses of the ‘Troubles’. The productions have since been made into film documentaries for ongoing dissemination in workshops, and one of her most recent productions has aired on the BBC. Her work humanizes the other and is founded on the premise of ‘finding the medicine’ in stories of deep suffering, and peace.
Teya was on the dance faculty at Swarthmore College from 1974-1991 where she taught composition, improvisation and technique, and later, “The Arts as Community Service, Social Change.” She is the recipient of the Philadelphia Human Rights Award for Arts and Culture from The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, a Local Hero Award from the Bank of America, as well as the Cultural Arts Award from Women’s Way and the Mayor’s Commission on Women. She was just named the Chair of Theatrical Innovation by Holywell Trust, an organization in Northern Ireland devoted to peace and reconciliation. She has a long time meditation practice which informs all of her work and life. Teya is currently teaching Theatre of Witness at Juniata College and is setting up an International Academy for Theatre of Witness. Her book, ‘Theatre of Witness – Finding the Medicine in Stories of Suffering, Transformation and Peace’ was published in February 2013 by Jessica Kingsley Press.
Theater of Witness is a form of performance developed by it’s founder and artistic director Teya Sepinuck, in which the true life stories oft hose whose voices haven’t been heard in society are performed by the story-tellers themselves as a way for audiences to bear witness to significant social issues. The theater productions are scripted from individual and group interviews as well as a variety of creative process techniques and consist of scripted tect, music, movement, imagery and film projection. The productions are created with the performers who themselves have directly experienced the issues being explored. Theater of Witness invites audiences to put a face and heart to societal issues of suffering and to celebrate the power of the human spirit to grow and transform. Theater of Witness aims to humanize ‘the other’, and to be a form of peace building and inspiration.
Theater of Witness Promo Film, 2014:
More information: www.theaterofwitness.org