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Mainstage Production:

November 2020

The Empathy Project

Virtual Staged Readings of a New Play

Created and Written by Full Circle Core Artist
 Stephanie Lein Walseth

Based on interviews of 20 Minnesotans across the state

The Empathy Project helps us remember what holds us together amidst the national polarization that threatens to pull us apart.


Presented Virtually, 2 Weeks after the National Election


November 20 - 22, 2020

Friday, November 20 at 7 p.m. CST - Act 1
Saturday, November 21 at 3 p.m. CST - Act 1
Saturday, November 21 at 7 p.m. CST - Act 2
Sunday, November 22 at 3 p.m. CST - Act 2

Director: Rick Shiomi
 Dramaturg: Martha B. Johnson



The Empathy Project helps us remember what holds us together amidst the national polarization that threatens to pull us apart. As we traverse Minnesota’s varied geography in this heartfelt new play, we rediscover our common ground. Individual stories illuminate a rich tapestry of interwoven threads across identities, locales, and political affiliations. Through their poignant insights, we are reminded that the world will begin to change when “them” becomes “us.” When we re-member our connectedness amidst our differences. When the fullness of the circle expands to include us all.

Presented in partnership with The Yes! House in Granite Falls, MN, Department of Public Transformation, and Dreamland Arts, St. Paul, MN

Stephanie is a fiscal year 2020 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. 

Stephanie Lein Walseth

Full Circle Core Artist


The Empathy Project Playwright

As a theater artist, I hold a deep belief in the transformative power of personal narrative. I’ve both witnessed and experienced how performance pieces derived from personal stories can reveal the complexity of human existence, challenge stereotypes, forge connections across lines of difference, and deepen our capacity for empathy. It is my hope that The Empathy Project will follow in this tradition, building on the profound impact of Full Circle’s first play, Theater: A Sacred Passage, as well as national treasures like Anna Deveare Smith’s Fires in the Mirror and Tectonic Theater Project’s Laramie Project. I know you will be as surprised and delighted, as heartbroken and as challenged as I was by each of these stories, and the magically unexpected ways that they wove together. I hope you will join us for the journey, and that you may see reflections and resonances of your own story along the way.

The Empathy Project Cast

Jay Eisenberg

Jay Owen Eisenberg is an actor, educator, director, and facilitator. He currently teaches with Upstream Arts, Penumbra Theatre, the University of Minnesota, and Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, among others. Here in the Twin Cities, he has performed with the Guthrie Theater, Penumbra Theatre, the Moving Company, Theater Latte Da, Jungle Theater, Pillsbury House + Theatre, Mixed Blood Theater, Open Eye Figure Theater, the Playwrights’ Center, and more. BFA: NYU Tisch School of the Arts. 

Full Circle is supported in part by Metro Regional Arts Council and McKnight Foundation