Arts In Conversation

In spring 2013, Elements Theatre Company launched the “Arts in Conversation” panel series. Featuring leaders in the arts, education, religion, media and social outreach, this series aims to create broader, richer public dialogue on the power of the arts to humanize our culture.

As a theatre company, our core mission is to educate and illuminate through the honest exploration of classical and classically-rooted modern theatre. We believe that theatre provides a mirror for ourselves and our society, creating a possibility for meaningful exchange over ideas that matter most deeply. In our experience, reconciliation and transformation are only possible when we clearly see and name the issues that divide us.

November 2018

Cape Cod, MA

Elements Theatre presented Battered and Bright: Celebrating the Saints, an original production that was a part of the Sacred Drama Series Exploring Transfigured Lives at the Church of the Transfiguration.

Panelists Included:
Danielle Dwyer, CJ, Former Artistic Director of Elements Theatre Company
John Sweeney, Paraclete Press Editor-in-Chief and Author
Susan Miller, Author
Bert Ghezzi, Author and Speaker
The Rev. Christian Holleck, Pastor
Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, Author, Speaker, and Retreat Leader

A Pound of Flesh: Exploring Qualities of Mercy When Encountering “The Other”

January-February & December 2015

New York City, Chicago, Cape Cod

Elements Theatre Company presented A Pound of Flesh: Exploring Qualities of Mercy When Encountering “The Other”. This series of performances, panel discussions, workshops, and post-show conversations were inspired by William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.

Elements Theatre Company presented Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice as a springboard for thought-provoking conversation on “the other” in our society today. In a world torn by hatred and prejudice of many kinds, we can feel powerless to create any real change. But by creating a space for exchange, reflection, and even disagreement, we might discover truths at the core of the issues. These insights might be frightening or surprising, but they can also ignite real change.

In the Pound of Flesh series, distinguished guest panelists and the Elements cast considered: What drives Shylock (and other “outsiders”) to such extreme measures? In what ways could we be responsible for creating a climate of persecution, rather than acceptance? What are the qualities of mercy that might turn the tide of violence, in our culture and in our relationships?

Panelists Included:
Jeff Robbins (Moderator), Former United States Delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Switzerland
Danielle Dwyer, CJ, Artistic Director of Elements Theatre Company
Rabbi Mark Elber, Temple Beth El, Fall River, MA
Sidney Friedman, PhD, BU College of Fine Arts, Adjunct Professor in Theatre
G. Thomas Ryan, KHS, Liturgy Coordinator, St. Mary, Our Lady of the Isle Catholic Church, Nantucket, MA
Tina Packer, Founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare & Co, Lenox, MA
Lee Mikeska Gardner, Artistic Director of The Nora Theatre Co, Cambridge, MA
Robert O. Trestan, ADL New England Regional Director
Dr. Gregory Sorensen, Former President and CEO of Siemens Healthcare North America
Dr. Amarpreet Swahney, President and CEP of Ocular Therapeutix, Inc.


November 2014

Cape Cod, MA

Elements Theatre Company presented Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage.

Talk-backs with the actors following the performance were lead by Kate Snodgrass and Nina Schuessler (Producing Artistic Director, Harwich Junior Theatre).


How Shakespeare Humanizes Our Culture: The Transforming Power of His Work

February 2014

The Players Club, Gramercy Park, NYC

Elements Theatre Company presented their debut performance of an original work, Labyrinth: A Legacy of Language, exploring Shakespeare’s tremendous influence on playwrights through the centuries, from Sheridan to Ibsen to Stoppard. The production was a springboard for a panel discussion, How Shakespeare Humanizes Our Culture: The Transforming Power of His Work.

Taking place at the beginning of Shakespeare’s 450th birth anniversary year, this panel explored how the Bard’s work challenges the way we live as a society today. “Shakespeare has a tremendous understanding of human nature and concepts of revenge, forgiveness, accountability, making amends, and taking responsibility for our actions,” observes Danielle Dwyer, CJ, Elements Artistic Director. “His incredible grasp on the many different aspects of what it means to be human gives us a deeper, longer view on life. He understands the importance of living in harmony within ourselves and with each other.”

Panelists included:
George Drance, SJ, Artist in Residence at Fordham University
Louis Colaianni, Author of ‘How to Speak Shakespeare’ and Teacher/Coach
Rob Weinert-Kendt, Senior Editor at “American Theatre Magazine”
Josh Cabat, Co-founder of the New York City Student Shakespeare Festival
Danielle Dwyer, CJ, Elements Artistic Director


The Importance of Live Theater In Our Culture:The Art of Making Humans More Human

September 2013

Back Bay Events Center, Boston

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing and other violence in schools and in our culture, this was a pivotal time to shine new light on the power of the arts to redeem tragedy, cultivate empathy, and provide personal connection in our digital age. Using a performance of Yasmina Reza’s The God of Carnage as a springboard, panelists discussed how live theater creates community and provides a vehicle for catharsis that can heal and transform individuals.

Panelists Included:
Jared Bowen, WGBH Executive Arts Editor
Julie Hennrikus, Executive Director of StageSource
Joyce Kulhawik, President of the Boston Theater Critics Association
Georgia Lyman, Elliot Norton Award-winning actress
Fr. R. Thomas Kane, Professor at Boston College
Sr. Danielle Dwyer, CJ (Moderator), Elements Theatre Company Artistic Director


How Do the Arts Humanize Culture?

March 2013

New York City

Inspired by A. R. Gurney’s Pulitzer-nominated play, The Dining Room, Elements Theatre hosted a panel discussion on this question. Our director, Sr Danielle Dwyer, moderated a varied panel of NYC experts.

Panelists Included:
Danielle Dwyer, CJ (Moderator), Artistic Director of Elements Theatre Company
Peter Filichia, Esteemed New York theater critic and author
Larisa Gelman, Director of Educational Outreach, 92nd Street Y
Mauricio Salgado, Director of Domestic Programs, Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP)

It was both engaging and enlightening. Check it out: