Artreach Presents ''The Waiting Room'', a New Play Exploring Racial Disparity in Mental Health and Healthcare. Two Performances Only at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center

Artreach, Inc. is pleased to present a workshop production of a new play that explores racial disparity in mental health and healthcare on Friday, September 22 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, September 23 at 2:00 pm. The performances, which will be followed by a facilitated discussion, will take place at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center at 305 Great Neck Road, Waterford, CT. Tickets are free, but registration is required. For more information and to make a reservation, visit

Artreach is excited to present a new play developed with an ensemble of theater artists addressing these important issues. In December 2022, the project's first residency took place at The Dragon's Egg in Ledyard and focused on creating the script for a theatrical performance to address racial disparity in mental health and healthcare. This September, a second residency will take place at the O'Neill with a cast of professional actors who will more fully develop the play. The residency will culminate with two public performances: an evening show on Friday, Sept. 22 and a matinee on Saturday, Sept. 23. The performances will include a facilitated discussion with the audience to further explore the issues presented.

The creative team of professional theater artists is lead by Director and Story Creator Sideeq Heard. Heard was recently seen as an actor in "Trouble in Mind" at Hartford Stage Company and was Associate Director on "Fat Ham," which moved to Broadway in spring 2023. Associate Director is Donathan Walters. Cast members include professional actors hailing from California and New York: Valeria Aceves, Jonathan Bangs, Carolyn Chave, Reece dos Santos, Devin Kessler, Ann-Kathryne Mills, Rodney J. Nelson, and E Tally II. An original illustration for the production was created by New London visual artist Kern Bruce. The project is overseen by Artreach's Executive Director Becca Atkins. Artreach Associate Director Emma Palzere-Rae serves as line producer and dramaturg; Carin Jennie Estey is production stage manager.

These performances are sponsored by UCFS Healthcare.

This project is made possible with funding from NBCUniversal Foundation; Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut (Southeast General and Racial Justice funds); Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation, City of Norwich/Cultural Coalition IMPACT Grant and National Endowment for the Arts/Challenge America. Artreach also receives funding from the CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) and with the support of the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts, as well as additional foundations and individuals.

Questions and inquiries can be directed to Artreach Associate Director Emma Palzere-Rae at


Artreach heals through creativity. Using the creative arts, Artreach supports sustainable recovery from psychiatric disorders and raises awareness about mental health in the community-at-large. By providing theater, music, visual arts, and recreational opportunities to members, Artreach enhances the quality of its members' lives and teaches skills that help them achieve and sustain recovery after experiencing mental illnesses. Our public performances and art exhibits engage attendees in conversation about mental health and serve to bust the stigma of mental illness, creating social change in our community. Founded in 1985, Artreach is known for the Second Step Players sketch comedy troupe, the Music Heals Coffeehouse, and Mixed Bag performances of comedy and music. "The Waiting Room" expands Artreach's theater for social change programming. and social media @ArtreachHeals.

WHO:          Artreach, Inc. presents "The Waiting Room"

WHAT:         A new play exploring racial disparity in mental health and healthcare, followed by a facilitated discussion.

WHERE:         Dina Merrill Theater
                       Eugene O'Neill Theater Center
                       305 Great Neck Road
                       Waterford, CT 06385

WHEN:        Friday, September 22 at 7:30 pm
                    Saturday, September 23 at 2:00 pm

HOW:          For more information and to reserve tickets, visit:

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