Due to the Pandemic, this project will culminate in a series of podcast and audio pieces in fall 2021,

We are thrilled to share that we are working on new Theater of Witness audio productions in partnership with the Mt. Vernon Manor Community Development Corporation in the Mantua / West Philadelphia Promise Zone. This Theater of Witness production, Mantua – From the Bottom to the Top, is a community offshoot of our 2017 “Walk in My Shoes” production and film. Mantua – From Bottom to the Top will feature Mantua residents/community members and police and seeks to address issues of community trauma. It is supported by the National Endowment of the Arts.

Once again, we are partnering with Police Inspector Altovise Love-Craighead to develop what we expect to be a set of riveting and empowering audio stories and podcasts about the effects of violence and trauma on both the community members and some of the police who serve in the district. The stories shared so far by participants are poignant and heartbreaking, as well as moving in the strength and resilience they convey. And once again, the power of the group to mine their creativity is inspiring and hopeful.

Stay tuned as we develop this new project that will shed light on the true-life experiences of those growing up, living in, and policing in communities of high poverty and trauma.

A 2017 Performance Film with Police and Community Members Sharing Their Stories and Vision for the Future

The tremendous wounds of our society are in full reveal.
What are the stories that need to be heard?

Walk in My Shoes is a film of the Theater of Witness performance created in 2017, performed by four Philadelphia police and three community members.  The performance explores societal wounds and shares the performers’ stories and visions of the future.

In this time of fear, turmoil and anger, Theater of Witness brings people together across divides of difference to bear witness to the beauty of meaningful engagement, cultivate empathy and truly listen to the stories of people we’ve never heard before. This is the time for a new story. One that taps into the spirit of love and connection between us all.

We are pleased to say that the film and workshops are now licensed to the EMIR Healing Center. For information about how to screen the film or schedule a community workshop, contact:walkinmyshoes@emirphilly.org

Photography by Raymond Holman

The production premiered in November 2017 to extraordinary audience responses:

Extraordinarily moving. Courageous performers. I was blown away.

Speechless, Profound. Real. Deep. Connected right into the core of the wound and into the Breath of Life. Their wounds Breath and love is …. Thank you!

This was the most powerful performance I have ever seen. It is gut-wrenching.  I so admire all these men and women who have the courage to share, to stand up and let the world know what they feel and what their journey has been like, what makes them who they are.  As difficult as it is to watch and hear it actually provides a ray of hope.  If we can hear and understand one another maybe, just maybe we will learn to respect and love one another.   

For more information about setting up screenings and workshops contact walkinmyshoes@emirphilly.org

Project Partners:
Philadelphia Police Inspector, Altovise Love-Craighead and Theater of Witness Artistic Director, Teya Sepinuck

12 New Films!: Watch the films exploring the performers’ experiences with dementia, love, and loss on the Tangles in Time website.

Join ‘Tangles in Time’ Artistic Director, Teya Sepinuck who will present films of performances from the original Theater of Witness production created and performed by people living with dementia, care partners and healthcare professionals. These true stories of love, loss, illness, and caring invite audiences to connect and build empathy—even through changes in memory, identity and time. The presentation also includes live discussion with some of the participants/performers about the healing effects of creative story-telling.

For more information about bringing the ‘Tangles in Time’ Presentation to your venue, contact Teya at: teya@theaterofwitness.org

Tangles in Time was an original Theater of Witness performance created and performed by people living with dementia, care partners and health professionals. Based on the performers’ own true stories of love, loss, illness, and, caring, the production wove together live performance with original music, film, and visual imagery. Co-produced by Thomas Jefferson University and Theater of Witness, the development of ‘Tangles in Time’ is led by Teya Sepinuck, founder and artistic director of Theater of Witness. The live performances took place at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral on September 14th and 15th, 2019.

Visit tanglesintime.org for more films, photos, and information.

Photography by Raymond Holman

Watch Mike & Mary Anne’s story:

Watch Sunny’s ancestor story:

Reflections and Endorsements

“It is a gift that puts love at the center. I feel gratitude for your vision, compassion, community and voice.” – Audience member

“Thank you for reminding me that love has no boundaries, no age, and defies the test of time.” – Audience member

“Simply beautiful. This gives hope and inspiration for the future.” – Audience member

What a moving and motivating presentation! I am so grateful for the opportunity to experience ‘Tangles in Time’;  to be able to witness the stories of those who are living with dementia either as the patient or caregiver.  I learned so much from their words, their stories, and from the Artistic Director, Teya Sepinuck.  Thank you for sharing your talents and stories with us, and for helping us to become better caregivers in our work and in our lives.” 

Patricia Curtin, MD, FACP, CMD

Section Chief, Geriatric Medicine

Geriatric Medicine Education Coordinator, Dept of Medicine Residency Program

Medical Director, Acute Care of the Elderly (ACE) Units—Christiana Hospital-6A & Wilmington Hospital-8S


As one who is not easily moved emotionally, ‘Tangles in Time’ touched my heart in a very special way through its beautiful artistic design and meaningful delivery from caregivers and clinicians.  It enabled me to join them in their experiences, walk in their shoes, and learn important life lessons that I can use to be a better person and caregiver.

Cheryl Botbyl, Wellbeing Program Coordinator

Center for Provider Wellbeing

ChristianaCare Health System

Read about Tangles in Time on the Tangles in Time website or in the Philadelphia Inquirer.


Tangles in Time has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

***Due to Covid-19, this project is on pause. While we remain on hold, would you like to share your story? Contact Teya at teya@theaterofwitness.org to share your experiences & to learn more.***

Reverberations will bring together health professionals and community members impacted by gun violence in Philadelphia to share personal stories of living with physical, psychological and societal effects of traumatic injury, as well as treating people who have experienced gun violence.

Through creative storytelling, testimonial performance, video, photography and community engagement, Reverberations will focus on how people heal.

The goal is to create a moving performance shared in our academic medical centers and in communities across the city. The initial production will reverberate outward as it leads to additional performance, discovery, and reflection with community partners in ways unique to each of their contexts.

In creating Reverberations, we hope to explore these questions:

  • How can those who have been injured work together with others to facilitate the emotional, spiritual and social dimensions of healing?
  • How can health professionals support a holistic process of healing for those who have experienced life-changing injury?
  • How can individuals and communities heal, care for others and thrive amid structural problems of poverty and racism?
  • How can creative storytelling become part of healing for patients, families, and health professionals?

Invite  Teya Sepinuck, Founder and Artistic Director of Theater of Witness, to give the  Soul of Story program – an inspiring multi-media program of films and life stories from her work creating original testimonial theater with people who have lived through trauma, marginalization and/or oppression. This work with survivors of violence, war, prison and resettlement illuminates the healing power of deep listening, giving voice and “finding the medicine” in stories of struggle, injustice and transformation. Teya will speak personally about the power of bearing witness and using personal and collective story to inspire healing, empathy and peace-building both for performers and audiences.