First Responders, Our First Story Showcase, SOLD OUT!



Erasing the Distance - First Responders

Stef Tovar* and Joshua J. Volkers performing First Responders 

Erasing the Distance on CBS 2

Brian Warner, who shared his story, and Artistic Director Heather Bodie on CBS 2. 

Erasing the Distance on Fox 32

Discussing First Responders on Fox 32.

Erasing the Distance actors with a man who shared his story.

Joshua J. Volkers, Brian Warner, and Stef Tovar who performed Brian’s story in First Responders.

We are so grateful to everyone who made First Responders a sold-out success!

For this showcase, first-hand mental health experiences from a police officer and a firefighter were collected; the stigmas, the challenges, and the potential for healing.

“You really captured what is happening with police and firefighters today.”

First Responders audience member ⠀

The project garnered so much attention, Artistic Director Heather Bodie and Brian Warner, a former Chicago police officer who shared his story for First Responderswere featured on media channels throughout the Chicago area, including CBS 2, Fox 32 and WLS 890. If you missed the airings, click the images in this post to view the segments.

Bodie and Custom Programs Manager Jana Ross identified a need for this project and the response they’ve received has proven their instincts are correct. Many first responders and groups supporting law enforcement officers and firefighters have reached out to further these important discussions. 

“An astounding production. I was enthralled. I hardly blinked.”

First Responders audience member

Sold out audiences, including many first responders, reacted powerfully to the work, sharing their experiences. This project has resulted in numerous community connections and ignited fruitful conversations about the importance of promoting mental health in a community dedicated to serving the public. 

However you supported this project—as an audience member, an individual who shared your story, a donor, an actor, or anyone who shared our posts on social media, we thank you.

Your participation helps us grow and continue to see how the power of performance can disarm stigma, spark dialogue, and educate.

First Responders

Adapted by Heather Bodie and Jana Ross
Directed by Heather Bodie
Stage Managed by Lindsey Miller
Performed by Stef Tovar* and Joshua J. Volkers

*Member of Actor’s Equity Association

If you weren’t able to get tickets for First Responders, stay tuned. More stories will be collected, shaped, and performed. This is only the beginning.



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