THE SHEEN CENTER AND SELFHELP COMMUNITY SERVICES PRESENT A PANEL DISCUSSION EXPLORING WITNESS THEATER’S ANNUAL THEATRICAL TRIBUTE TO HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS BY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS STREAMING TUESDAY, JULY 14 AT 7PM
(New York, NY) The Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Center for Thought and Culture is partnering with Selfhelp Community Services’ Witness Theater Program on Tuesday, July 14 at 7pm for a virtual panel discussion that will feature a look behind the scenes at Witness Theater’s moving theatrical collaboration between high school students and Holocaust survivors. Witness Theater, now in its eighth year, connects Holocaust survivors with high school students, under the guidance of a drama therapist, to share, teach, and preserve Holocaust memories. Together, the two generations explore issues of discrimination, war, loss, trauma, and the power of human resilience – issues that hold considerable resonance for all of us today. The panel will stream live this Tuesday evening at 7pm. RSVP for the live event here.
Witness Theater brings together high school students and Holocaust survivors for the course of an academic year, culminating in a live performance memorializing the survivors’ stories and celebrating the bonds formed within the group. Due to the Covid-19 health crisis, this year’s performance was suspended, but the group persisted, continuing to meet virtually and creating a video adaptation to share with the public in lieu of the play. This adaptation titled “Tomorrow is Ours” will be broadcast on Monday, July 13 at 7pm. You may access at Witness Theater’s webpage. It will be followed by a thoughtful discussion with the participants and co-hosted by The Sheen Center the following evening Tuesday, July 14 at 7pm.
Tuesday’s panel will include a Holocaust survivor and students of diverse cultural and religious backgrounds who participated in the program and will be facilitated by Jessica Asch, MA, LCAT, RDT Drama Therapist, Facilitator & Theater Director. They will discuss this timely, intergenerational collaboration, its significance for today’s audiences, and Witness Theater’s mission of honoring the stories of Holocaust survivors and the dignity of the human person through the arts. This is a mission they share with The Sheen Center. Audiences will hear directly from the program’s young participants as they share their thoughts on the final performance and the journey they took alongside Holocaust survivors, during this difficult time, inspired by the mission of the project and the intergenerational bonds they forged.
Members of the press interested in covering the panel or learning more about the Witness Theater program are asked to please respond to this email or contact Katie Foley at [email protected]
Selfhelp Community Services is a non-profit serving 20,000 older and vulnerable adults each year through home health care, affordable housing, and skilled social services, while remaining the largest provider of services to Holocaust survivors in North America. The organization offers a complete network of home care and community-based services with the overarching goal of helping seniors live with dignity and independence and avoid institutionalization. Selfhelp’s Witness Theater Program was conceived by Irit and Ezra Dagan and developed by JDC-Eshel in Israel. It was brought to New York in 2012 by Selfhelp Community Services, Inc. and is a collaboration between Selfhelp and UJA-Federation of New York. This program site and performance was made possible by federal funds from a grant through The JFNA Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care. Approximately 47% of the project, or $78,333, comes from federal sources. Approximately 53% or $88,334 comes from non-federal sources.
The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture (www.sheencenter.org) is a New York City arts center located in NoHo that presents a vibrant mix of theater, film, music, art and talk events. An initiative of the Archdiocese of New York, The Sheen Center serves all New Yorkers by presenting performances and artists that reflect the true, the good, and the beautiful. Named for the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, best remembered as an inspirational author, radio host and two-time Emmy Award-winning television personality, The Sheen Center reflects his modern-day approach to contemporary topics. The Sheen Center is a state-of-the-art theater complex that includes the 270-seat off-Broadway Loreto Theater, equipped with five-camera high-definition TV and live-stream capability and a multi-track recording studio; the 80-seat off-off-Broadway Black Box Theater; four rehearsal studios; and an art gallery.