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Shedding light on mental health issues through theatre

See a show. Join the conversation. Share your story.

Erasing the Distance (ETD) 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.

ETD collects true stories from people impacted by mental health issues. The storyteller’s words are sculpted into theatrical monologues and scenes. Our ensemble of professional actors then brings the stories to life for live audiences across the state and country.

ETD for Hire

Outreach and Education

Erasing the Distance has a vast repertoire of stories that explore various mental health issues and feature people of many different ages, cultural backgrounds, racial groups, and perspectives.


ETD offers a limited number of annual residencies to area middle schools, high schools and colleges. Typically lasting 3–5 months, a residency can include in-depth mental health discussions, speakers who share their personal experiences, and creative activities designed to stimulate storytelling and team building.

We present these stories at schools, faith groups, conferences, community organizations and workplaces. Our shows are performed in an accessible yet engaging way, and they are followed by a moderated, interactive dialogue so that audience members can talk about these often sensitive topics together.

This is the only part of my day where I feel expressed. —residency student


ETD’s approach to gathering, transcribing, and staging true stories is unique, and we often have people interested in learning how we do what we do. ETD leads presentations, workshops, trainings, and longer-term programs to teach artists, mental health advocates, and current/future health professionals our specific methodology.

What an impactful way to stimulate conversation around topics and issues we all face in some form. Very beautiful and positive—and real.

What an amazing, life-changing, powerful process!

—audience member

—workshop participant

Artistic Season ETD presents an artistic season of shows for the general public. Our productions—often world premieres—are presented in partnership with mental health professionals that offer actor training and on-site audience support and information.

Truly one of the best theatre experiences I’ve ever had. Thank you a million times. —audience member

To find out more, visit us at

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Photos by Terry Hall, Zak Jokela, John LaVere, Kelly Luchtman, Nicole Obert, Chris Popio, and Charlotte Schuber.

Erasing the Distance Brochure  

Organizational brochure for Erasing the Distance.