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Health Beat: Theater as a Healing Tool (WNYT News Channel 13, Albany NY)

How do you process tragedy? That's something this country has been dealing with through the pandemic. A local woman had to deal with a devastating loss even before the world shut down. She turned to words to help her and created a play following the death of her son Patrick at the hands of a drunken driver in Saratoga County. The play “13 Suits: A Mother's Monologues” was produced by the Outer loop Theater Experience. Rachael Yoder, the company's managing director, and Michael Herman, the founder and co-artistic director, are my guests.

Watch the full interview with Benita Zahn here!

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’13 Suits’ docudrama inspired by tragic hit-and-run death of Niskayuna native (Daily Gazette)

More than a dozen actors both near and far will take the virtual stage this weekend in a production inspired by the tragic loss of a local man.

Called “13 Suits: A Mother’s Monologues,” it follows what happens before and after the death of Patrick Duff, a Niskayuna native who was killed in a hit-and-run accident in 2015. The driver, a young woman, fled the scene and made 17 calls to relatives and lawyers, waiting more than an hour before calling emergency services. By the time help arrived, Duff was dead and his “organ donor” status was no longer relevant.

The piece is co-directed by Rachael Yoder, a fellow Niskayuna native who grew up with Duff, and runs The Outer Loop Theater Experience with her partner, Michael Herman. Together, they worked with Duff’s mother, Kathleen, to write “13 Suits.” The docudrama production is based on poems and stories that Kathleen wrote and shared about Duff.

​Read the full article here


The Outer Loop Theater Experience Announces


Based on actual events, 13 Suits: A Mother's Monologues is a LIVE documentary theatrical experience, crafted from a mother's reflections after losing her son. In a Laramie Project meets Twilight meets Vagina Monologues-style event, the play draws on dozens of poetic personal accounts, touching stories, and powerful statistics, to help weave a timely and poignant cautionary tale... one of grief, loss and healing, in the wake of seemingly insurmountable tragedy.

​Read the full article on

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Connection through chaos: Brown School students in Schenectady tackle topic of empathy (Daily Gazette)

What is the nature of empathy? 

Do we live in an empathetic society — and why, or why not?

How are you feeling right now?

That was the jumping-off point for the high school students at Brown School as they embarked on “The Empathy Project: Connection Through Chaos,” a virtual live production put on in collaboration with The Outer Loop non-profit theater company that will give the students a chance to connect their personal stories with whatever creative outlets they choose.

​Read the full article here

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Empathy Project allows local students and teachers means of self-expression (News 10)

The creation of art can offer individuals a therapeutic way to express their world views. It can also offer a way to talk about serious or complicated topics and help build a better understanding of the shared human experience. It’s why The Outer Loop Theater reached out to collaborate with the Brown School for The Empathy Project, an online event produced over three weeks that presents unique stories.

It’s been empowering and given a voice to Owen Morley and Kabir Pabla, they said....

Read the full article here!

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Brown School, The Outer Loop team up for Empathy Project (Spotlight News)

Despite the many factors that our nation finds dividing us, students from Brown School have joined forces with The Outer Loop Theater Experience to demonstrate how the past year’s turmoil has affected them and how we can be better at reaching out to one another. It poses the question, “Can we, through theater, inspire empathy and reconnect to our shared humanity?”


The project benefited the Schenectady Community Action Program (SCAP); tickets to the virtual viewing quickly sold out and a donation of over $1,200 was made to SCAP.

​Read the full article here

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Fringe Festival Production Examines Theater's Role in Spreading Empathy (Good Day Rochester Interview)

A local theater group is examining the impact of the current global crisis, and how theater can help inspire empathy and connection among people.

The Outer Loop's production of The Empathy Project includes two hour-long video presentations. They're available to stream online as part of the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival. The Outer Loop's Co-Artistic Directors, Michael Herman and Emily Vitrano, joined us on Good Day Rochester to discuss the project.

​Watch the full interview here


The Outer Loop Announces ONEIRONAUT: An International, 24-Hour, Immersive Theater Experience

The Outer Loop Theater Experience and NYU Tisch alum Kayla Zanakis proudly present OneIronaut, a one-of-a-kind cyber stage production that allows the audience to interact with characters and help them navigate a world like no other. The show is a 24-hour international event premiering on Saturday, September 12th, 2020 at 8pm EST.

​Read the full article on here!


Connections: Previewing the 2020 Rochester Fringe Festival


The Rochester Fringe Festival is going virtual this year. WXXI's Evan Dawson talks with festival producer Erica Fee about what it means to put together a festival during a pandemic, and we preview this year’s lineup. Outer Loop Co-Artistic director Michael Herman joins the show to talk about  “The Empathy Project”​, and its inclusion in the Rochester Fringe lineup this year! 

Listen to the full episode here!


OneIronaut by The Outer Loop Theater Experience

featured on Everything Theater Podcast


Outer Loop Co-Artistic Directors Michael Herman and Emily Vitrano, and OneIronaut creator Kayla Zanakis chat with Benita Zahn and Ellen Cribbs of the Everything Theater Podcast about the upcoming Outer Loop immersive virtual show, OneIronaut on Sept 12th. 

Listen to the full episode here!


The Outer Loop Theater Experience

Creates One-of-a-Kind Virtual Production Amidst Pandemic

From The Outer Loop and The Humanity Project, comes a LIVE virtual collaboration and devised theatrical response to the moment of crisis, we as a global community, currently find ourselves in. These are strange and uncertain times... ones simultaneously abundant and lacking in connection and hope. Can we, through theater, inspire empathy and reconnect to our shared humanity?

​Read the full article on here!


TMJ4 Interview: The Empathy Project, Volume I

TMJ4 anchor Vince Vitrano interviews Outer Loop Co-Artistic Director 

(and his sister!) Emily Vitrano about The Empathy Project, Volume I

​Watch the full interview here:

“The Empathy Project”: a theater piece to save humanity!

Host Amy Schmutte discusses The Empathy Project: an artistic theatrical production created by Emily Vitrano, Rachael Yoder and Michael Herman. The Empathy project is a collection of “stories from people of all ages, races, beliefs and demographics, all surrounding their current experience of COVID-19 and the global pandemic. We’ve been gathering these stories from our communities and beyond, and are now collaborating with a group of actors, singers, dancers, movers, songwriters and visual artists… curating, devising and assembling the larger Empathy Project piece.” Stay tuned for a Volume II!

Listen to the full interview here:


ACTIVE CULTURE Interview: The Empathy Project

On THIS "Special" Episode of ACTIVE CULTURE - We Engage in "The Lively Art of Conversation" with Three Members of THE OUTER LOOP THEATRE EXPERIENCE! Company Co-Founders Rachael Yoder and Michael Herman are Joined By Cherished Guest From Season Three - Actress Emily Vitrano, to Discuss Their Latest Magnum Opus - "THE EMPATHY PROJECT" We Also Feature An Audio Version of Their Play "Promo"!! "THE EMPATHY PROJECT" Has It's World Premiere on Saturday, May 30th @ 7PM (CST) On YOU TUBE!

Listen to the full interview here:

Co-Artistic Directors Michael Herman and Rachael Yoder were recently featured in Brown School's Hearts and Heroes series!

Brown School wants their students to recognize they can make a difference in the world. You need passion and grit! Hearts and Heroes will help students and their families to be resilient and resourceful during difficult times. So many heroes to celebrate in this world!

Watch the full interview here:


​WNYT (NewsChannel 13, Albany) 
Couple Foregoes Big Wedding to Help Build Labor Clinic

​"Michael was in Africa to meet with people and create theatre projects, but was moved by Asha's story. He and Rachael knew they needed to do more, so they got married and asked people to take the money they would have spent on the wedding and put it towards building the clinic."

Full Story:


The Daily Gazette 
Documentary Tracks Couple's Tanzania Efforts

"Throughout the construction process, they connected with villagers in Mloka, and created a documentary about the rich culture of the village and the process of constructing the first of many buildings to better serve the villagers. The documentary will be shown at Proctors on Sep. 8."





​​Your Niskayuna
Couple Works to Build Clinic in Tanzania


"While it’s estimated to take a month to a month and a half to construct, the couple is prepared to stay as long as it takes. 'We want to show that we really do want to see it through,' Herman said, 'that way people will feel more invested in the clinic themselves.' Once the clinic is built, the District Health Council will inspect it. 'Then the Tanzanian government will supply the equipment and the doctors,' Herman said."

Full story:


​"As human beings, it is our responsibility to help one another.
In a world filled with the 'what's in it for me' attitude, it warms our hearts to see The Outer Loop so committed to helping others."



"The Humanity Project gave me the opportunity to redefine community.
Rachael Yoder and Michael Herman were my best teachers.
They gave me insight into a

worldview that Includes everyone,
neighbors near by and far away.
May my expanded thinking of universal kinship continue to evolve and

change my behavior."

"Working with

The Outer Loop and learning from your experiences of creating theater of the people for the people, has led me to be more confident in my

own artistry.” 


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