New Hampshire Theatre Project launches its provocative new Elephant-in-the-Room Series of playreadings and community discussion on November 16. The Series will present four plays about subjects that we as a society often have difficulty discussing: Human Trafficking and Sexual Abuse; Mental Illness; the Opioid Crisis Effect on Families; and Death and Dying. Each event will be moderated by Timothy Barretto, known for his UNH courses on Managing Conflict in the Community, who will facilitate discussion among audience members, artists, and a panel of experts on the topic. Questions focus on attitudes about ethical issues involved in the subject over time and today, and our responsibility as a society to bring these issues out of the shadows and into the cultural mainstream. Audience members who wish to help bring these social issues out into the open will be provided with an Action Plan for positive action steps and ways to get involved.
The Elephant-in-the-Room Series opens on Thursday, November 16 at 7 pm, with a reading of Boston playwright Deborah Fortson’s Body & Sold, based on true stories of human trafficking throughout the United States. Since many believe human trafficking is a relic of the past, the discussion will focus on the reasons for its continued existence and what local and global changes need to be made to combat this ugly truth. Panelists include Dr. Alicia W. Peters of the University of New England, Joi Smith of HAVEN, and Cheri Crider of Courage Speaks NH. Dr. Peters, associate professor of anthropology and affiliated faculty in the UNE Women and Gender Studies Program, brings a humanities perspective to the discussion. Joi Smith, Manager of Client Services at HAVEN, was instrumental in establishing trafficking task forces in Rockingham and Strafford County, and sits on the Victim Services Committee of the NH Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force. Originally from Kittery, ME, Cheri Crider is a survivor of sex trafficking. A member of Courage Speaks NH and Survivor Leadership Collaborative, she works as a resource for other survivors.
Admission to the reading and discussion is free, but donations will be cheerfully accepted to benefit HAVEN. Formerly known as SASS and A Safe Place, HAVEN officially merged in 2015 to become the largest violence prevention and support service agency in New Hampshire. HAVEN is dedicated to preventing sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking and to support and empower women, men, youth and families to heal from abuse and rebuild their lives.
NHTP’s Elephant-in-the-Room Series is possible through generous funding by NH Humanities and the Seacoast Women’s Giving Circle.