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Red Earth Theatre presents ‘Our Stories Ourselves/Performing Wellness Storytelling’

Red Earth Theatre group: L-R:  (rear) Larry Rosenberg, Chris Verquer, Maureen Nelson, Kathy Bashor, and Savannah Saunders.  (front) Lydia Collins, Chris Duarte, and Kandace LeMond

Red Earth Theatre group: L-R:  (rear) Larry Rosenberg, Chris Verquer, Maureen Nelson, Kathy Bashor, and Savannah Saunders. (front) Lydia Collins, Chris Duarte, and Kandace LeMond

Originally Published: May 29, 2019 8:12 a.m.

If You Go ...

• What: Live Theatre/Personal Stories

• Where: Mary D. Fisher Theatre Sedona

• When: Friday May 31st, 7.30pm

• How Much: $10:  Tickets at Mary Fisher and at the door

• More Info: www.mhcvv.org and


Red Earth Theatre and The Mental Health Coalition Verde Valley bring a rare and powerful collection of stories to the stage, written by eight individuals who are living well with mental health challenges and life issues. Eight actors bring the words to life for an inspirational evening woven with truth, humor, joy and hope.

The “Our Stories Ourselves/Performing Wellness Storytelling Project” is the culmination of a proven process that guides writers to creatively find and articulate their personal story for spoken word. Not therapy nor playwriting but some sort of hybrid, it is facilitated by Kate Hawkes who first created the basic Performing Wellness process almost 20 years ago in Portland, Oregon.

Hawkes’ many years’ experience in theatre as a writer, director and dramaturg with the personal story on stage, includes an arts in healthcare company which worked with writers and actors in more than eight performing wellness projects.

In the last seven years in Arizona, she has worked with the VA on several writing and arts projects and with the Mental Health Coalition in story telling over the last two years.

The eight writers who have made the six-week journey include Chris Verquer, Chris Duarte, Savannah Sanders, Larry Rosenberg, Kandace LeMond, Lydia Collins, Maureen Nealon and Kathy Bashor. Their wide range of experiences are shared on stage (in reader’s theater format) through dialogue, poetry and prose with music and other soundscapes.

The actors joining the writers include Joan Westmorland, Terra Shelman, Ashlee Threlkeld, Mary Gladieux, Mitchell McDermott, Tom Shoemaker, Deb Williams and Sarah Ann Lesslie. Each writer works with their own actor to craft the words for live performance. Murray Archimedes will be providing the sound score and Kate Hawkes steps in as the stage director.

Far from being depressing, the theatrical experience of powerful stories brought to life by experienced actors always inspires, encourages and ultimately brings understanding and community to all who participate – whether as writers, actors or audience members.

Hawkes says, “It is always an honor and joy for me to be the catalyst for others in this way. Over the years I have seen laughter, tears, delight and most of all deep bonds of admiration and love form through this process. Audiences get to bathe in that truly human experience.”

This amazing experience for writers, actors and audience alike, has been made possible by sponsors, including the Narbha Institute, Steward Health Care Network-Health Choice Arizona, and the Mental Health Coalition Verde Valley.

You are invited to allow yourself the journey and discover your own story by witnessing these on stage. “Our Stories Ourselves/Performing Wellness” will be on stage at the Mary D Fisher Theatre May 31, 7.30 p.m.

Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased at the Mary D Fisher box office or online, and at the door.