Illumination Education Program
The Empathy Project
Lantern Theater Company partners with the Sidney Kimmel Medical College (SKMC) of Thomas Jefferson University to offer an introductory course on drama, acting, and playwriting for their graduate students of health care professions, resident physicians, and faculty at the medical and nursing schools.
Conceived by Salvatore Mangione, MD, pulmonologist and director of physical diagnosis-clinical skills at SKMC, and the Lantern's artistic director, Charles McMahon, this innovative program seeks to foster empathy and tolerance for ambiguity among health professions students using the tools and techniques of the theatrical form. According to McMahon: "The Lantern has long held the belief that theater should enrich the life of its community by providing people with unique experiences and uncommon perspectives that help us to create greater context and meaning in our lives. This collaboration with Thomas Jefferson University has the potential to open up new ways our respective fields can enrich each other."
The Empathy Project launched in November 2014 and is now integrated into the larger humanities curriculum required for first-year medical students at SKMC. Dr. Mangione was particularly interested in theater as a tool to foster empathy. "Theater is not entertainment," Dr. Mangione said. "The Greeks created drama to be catharsis by proxy. It is a tool to understand the human condition."
Lantern teaching artists lead medical school students and healthcare professionals in workshops that explore a variety of acting and playwriting techniques. The program typically culminates in a live presentation, performed by an ensemble of Lantern artists and program participants for an audience of students, staff, and community members.
Salvatore Mangione, M.D. (second row, far left) pictured with Empathy Project participants
Header Photo: Paul L. Nolan, Sally Mercer, and Charles McMahon in Copenhagen (2018); Charlie DelMarcelle, Anthony Lawton, Jered McLenigan, and Brian Anthony Wilson in The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (2019); Anthony Lawton and Paul L. Nolan in The Craftsman (2017); and Bi Jean Ngo and Peter DeLaurier in The Tempest (2018). Photos by Mark Garvin.
Lantern Theater Company respectfully acknowledges that it is situated on Lenapehoking, the ancestral and spiritual homeland of the Unami Lenape.