The MainStage Theater has showcased powerful stories, such as Antigone, and will serve as the site of "Death and The Maiden," a staged reading centering on the body and souls of people in a country torn by a dictator. "The Feminine Divine" is a new chapter in EMU’s peacebuilding artist-in-residence experiment, will be held in the Lee Eshleman Studio Theater. Photo by Cody Troyer.

CJP, Theater and VaCA Provide Collaborative Events

Two events at Eastern Mennonite University this week showcase the intersection between the arts and creating a more peaceful world.

“The Feminine Divine: Embrace and Release” is a participatory dance workshop facilitated by Akiko Ishihara and framed by graphic posters designed by Chelsea Kight. It will be held Wednesday, April 11, 7-9 p.m., in the Lee Eshleman Studio Theater in University Commons.

Ishihara is a graduate student in EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) and Kight is an undergraduate in the Visual and Communication Arts (VaCA) program.

A staged reading centering on the body and souls of people in a country torn by a dictator will be held at EMU’s MainStage Theater on Friday, April 13, and Saturday, April 14, at 7 p.m.

“Death and The Maiden” by Ariel Dorfman will be directed by the theater department’s artist-in-residence and CJP graduate, Roger Foster.

“The three-person cast of Lora Steiner, Nathaniel Daniel and David Vogel, will put a very human face on issues of national trauma, reconciliation and transitional justice,” said Foster.

Heidi Winters Vogel, chair of theater, added, “This play uses language and situations that are shocking and painful. This is appropriate for the story but may not be suitable for all audiences.”

Paulette Moore, art galleries director and professor of the practice of media arts and peacebuilding said, “Traditional art programs are becoming more focused on working in community, and the peacebuilding world increasingly sees the arts as unique tools for healing and community building.”

“The Feminine Divine” is a new chapter in EMU’s peacebuilding artist-in-residence experiment, which consists of a year-long progression of gallery exhibits across disciplines and among artists, according to Moore.

“The arts offer peacebuilders unique tools for transforming intractable interpersonal, intercommunal, national and global conflicts – tools that are not currently prevalent or available within the peacebuilding field,” said Lisa Schirch, PhD, research professor and founding director of 3P Security.

“The task for peacebuilding practitioners is to find strategic ways of incorporating the arts into the work of peacebuilding and to create a space where people in conflict can express themselves, heal themselves and reconcile themselves through the arts.”

For more information on the dance workshop or the Eastern Mennonite University art galleries contact Paulette Moore at or 703-597-7766.

For more information on the staged reading, contact the theater department at 540-432-4360 or email