NH Theatre Project's Elephant-in-the-Room Series Continues With The Opioid Crisis & Families

NH Theatre Project's Elephant-in-the-Room Series Continues With The Opioid Crisis & Families

New Hampshire Theatre Project's Elephant-in-the-Room Series continues with the topic of the Opioid Crisis Effect on Families, featuring a reading of A Wider Circle by Mary-Ellen Hedrick. A playwright and civics teacher from New Hampshire, Mary-Ellen's previous work, Throw Away People (featured at NHTP's 2017 Intelligent Theatre Festival), focused on the devastating consequences of heroin addiction for both individuals and the community. As an advocate for the recovery community, she felt compelled to address the topic of addiction as a family disease. With New Hampshire leading the nation in opioid related deaths, this issue is having significant consequences in all of our communities. A Wider Circle had such a powerful response in last year's Elephant-in-the-Room Series, NHTP has brought it back in 2019 and will tour this program to Concord, Rochester, Gorham and Brentwood as well as the Portsmouth presentation.

New Hampshire Theatre Project is partnering with their Portsmouth West End neighbor, Safe Harbor Recovery Center, on this Elephant-in-the-Room presentation. A program of Granite Pathways, Safe Harbor Recovery Center is committed to assisting individuals and families impacted by Substance Use Disorder both professionally and personally. All audience members will receive an Action Plan with suggestions for how they can take action to make change in their community around the issue of helping families affected by substance abuse.

Following the playreading of A Wider Circle, facilitator Timothy Barretto will host a discussion with the audience and a panel of community members including Karen T. Van Gundy, UNH professor of sociology whose publishing credits include Substance Use and Misuse and Marijuana: Examining the Facts. The panel will also include a representative from Safe Harbor Recovery Center and Keith Sabella, a therapist in private practice who specializes in addiction recovery.

Admission to the reading and discussion is free, but donations will be cheerfully accepted to benefit Safe Harbor Recovery Center.

Now in its second year, NHTP's Elephant-in-the-Room Series presents playreadings and community conversations about subjects that we as a society often have difficulty discussing. Additional topics for 2019 include Eating Disorders & Body Image, School Safety in the 21st Century, and Suicide & Self-Harm. Each event is moderated by Timothy Barretto, known for his UNH and Great Bay Community College courses on Managing Conflict in the Community. 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 2019 Elephant-in-the-Room Series is possible through generous funding by New Hampshire Humanities, NH State Council on the Arts, and Exeter Hospital with additional funding from the NH Charitable Foundation, Portsmouth Lodge of Elks #97, and The Edgewood Centre. For more information, please visit www.nhtheatreproject.org.

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