Story Showcase: First Responders

Story Showcase: First Responders

A showcase of new work exploring the mental health experiences of police, firefighters, and others who encounter traumatic events in the line of duty.

November 12–14, 2018

Story Showcase: First Responders


CHICAGO – Erasing the Distance is proud to announce its Story Showcase: First Responders, a timely exploration of the mental health experiences of firefighters, paramedics, and law enforcement officers.

Many uniformed first responders encounter traumatic events in the line of duty. And they often face unique challenges to receiving mental health support, including cultural pressure to continue their day-to-day routine by any means necessary, despite difficulties.

We are seeing an increased rate of illness, divorce, alcohol abuse, PTSD, depression and anxiety among our first responders within Chicago and in the news. We are hoping to open up a dialogue about how we care for those who serve and protect us,” says Artistic Director Heather Bodie.

For this showcase, Erasing the Distance collected first-hand mental health experiences from uniformed responders; the stigmas, the challenges, and the potential for healing. The impact of their traumas can be seen in the higher rates of self-medication and suicide than other populations. There is also a strong effect on family relationships.

“At Erasing the Distance, we have seen how sharing true experiences opens dialogue about mental health issues, both for storytellers and audience members” says Artistic Director Heather Bodie.

This event, Story Showcase: First Responders, is an opportunity to bring this new collection of Erasing the Distance stories to the public. Each showcase performance will be followed by a facilitated dialogue.

First Responders
November 12–14, 2018
Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL

Tickets: In Advance $15, At the Door $20, Student $13, Group $10.

Purchase tickets now!

Sponsored in part by



Erasing the Distance is a non-profit arts organization based in Chicago that uses the power of performance to disarm stigma, spark dialogue, educate, and promote healing surrounding issues of mental health.

About Erasing the Distance

Founded in 2005, Erasing the Distance collects true stories from people whose lives have been impacted by mental health issues. We sculpt the stories into theatrical pieces for the stage, which are then performed by professional actors. Every performance is followed by a moderated, interactive dialogue with the audience that addresses the themes they have just seen.

Erasing the Distance is artistically led by Artistic Director Heather Bodie. Bodie has been working with Erasing the Distance since 2013. Since the organization was founded in 2005 by Brighid O’Shaughnessy, Erasing the Distance has reached over 67,000 audience members through public performances, custom programs and training and education programs. For more information about us, please visit

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