THE EMPATHY PROJECT: a new human experience
From The Outer Loop and The Humanity Project, comes a LIVE virtual collaboration and devised theatrical response to any 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?
At the start of the global pandemic in March of 2020, Michael and Rachael came to Emily with the following questions: what place do artists, theatre and empathy have within our current experience and how can we create art that reflects that experience? Out of our curiosity and discussions, came the following:
The Empathy Project: a new human experience
With Michael and Rachael's leadership, we honed in on a LIVE, virtual, devised theatre event. Our process was two-fold; first we gathered stories from our communities and beyond. Then, with a group of actors, singers, dancers, movers and songwriters curated, devised and assembled the larger Empathy Project | Volume I: a new human experience. The production included both live and pre-recorded performances of stories from people of all ages, races, genders, beliefs and demographics, all surrounding their experiences of the pandemic within their local and global communities.
As the project was a devised piece, we were not sure exactly what it would be, but we were sure it would have an impact; the project's purpose stemming from The Outer Loop's greater purpose and mission: to create art that matters. We hoped by bringing together voices, stories and experiences from all walks of life and artists from all mediums, both participants and audience alike would engage in the greater conversation of what it meant to be human ... right at that moment. And that together, we might discover while our experiences or views of the pandemic differed, that our feelings of fear, joy, disappointment, hope, anger, and love were all the same.
When we began planning for the project, we hoped we were on to something. When we performed Volume I, LIVE over Zoom on May 30 to a sold out crowd, we knew we had created something unique,
innovative and, most importantly, necessary.
Immediately following our sold out performance, the United States erupted in political and social unrest following the murder of George Flyod. Our team quickly reacted and began planning The Empathy Project | Volume II: The Secret Handshake. Again we gathered stories from our community and beyond, but this time with a focus on experiences of our country’s social and political unrest, the protests of George Floyd’s murder, and our nation’s cries for justice, for change, and for peace. With this, our second volume, we once again turned the mirror back on ourselves and asked, “what place do artists, theater and empathy have within our current experience and how can we create art that reflects that experience?”
The Empathy Project is now an ongoing project sourcing stories from all over our country and the world. Check out the trailers for Volume I and Volume II above.
Interested in learning more? We hope so!
You can engage with The Empathy Project in the following ways:
Join us as an artist. Interested in working on an upcoming volume?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not interested in performing but want to share your story? Just fill out the form below! Your story may be featured in an upcoming volume of the project, on social media, or on our weekly podcast, Empathy Radio.