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Program to Address NH Vets, Communities

October 6, 2010

CONCORD, N. H. - Using theater as a tool to spark discussion and healing for New Hampshire veterans is the premise of a town hall-style project that kicks off in New Hampshire on Wednesday. "Theater of War" features readings from ancient Greek plays, followed by panel discussions featuring local combat veterans, medical personnel and caregivers.

The goal of these events is to promote better awareness of the needs of our service members, their families and communities. Bill Donaghue, a New Hampshire veteran and Theater of War participant, has worked on reintegration projects for the New Hampshire Army National Guard for several years.

"I think using story and drama like this enables people to connect with the emotional issues – which are commonly shared, and quite powerful and overwhelming at times – and begin to deal with them conversationally in terms of their own stories, without getting drawn into diagnostic labels."

The Greek play "Ajax" is the focus of Wednesday's readings, about a military officer and his battle with depression following a nine-year war. Donaghue says the story is especially relevant today, given the repeat deployments of service members to the Middle East.

"I think we are just beginning to get our minds around what that might mean. The impact is multidimensional, and it affects the children and the families of course, and schools and other ways in which service members are connected to their communities."

The Theater of War events taking place on Wednesday (Oct. 6) are at 1:00 p.m. at Grace Capital Church, 542 Pembroke St., Pembroke; and at 6:00 p.m. at Concord High School, 170 Warren St., Concord. They are jointly hosted by the New Hampshire National Guard, the New Hampshire Department of Health & Human Services, NAMI New Hampshire, and the New Hampshire Suicide Prevention Council.

More information about the project is online at

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - NH