Theatre of

Radical Compassion

Theatre of Radical Compassion is...

Theatre of Radical Compassion utilizes theatrical storytelling to foster compassion, care, and connection among community members. We favor community-based arts practices that educate and advocate. We favor drama-based facilitations, interactive theatre pieces, and democratized rehearsal processes in the way we work. Our mission statement is to utilize theatre and performance to facilitate everyday disruptions of dysfunctional, dehumanizing structures through compassionate action and interpersonal connection.

Why “Theatre of Radical Compassion”?

Theatre is a communal space of gathering and involves ritual for storytelling or meaning-making.

It often uses symbols and audience interaction to evoke…


critical thinking

or action

The Radical part emphasizes the notion of getting to the root of Compassion by grounding care for one another in a commitment to disrupting systems that perpetuate harmful or oppressive practices. 
Putting these three ideas together, Theatre of Radical Compassion uses theatre as a site where we activate compassion through care. 

Who we are

Kristia Friedgen Headshot

As an artist, Kristina crafts virtual and live theatrical experiences that foster community and promote social action. Her work with young artists and audiences has earned her the Don & Elizabeth Doyle and Jim Rye Fellowships. She recently published in Theatre Journal and will have an upcoming co-authored article in PARtake. Kristina is passionate about training and collaborating with the next generation of artists, culture-makers, and citizens. As the new Director of Innovation and Engagement at Sitar Arts Center in Washington DC, she is currently building a new arts-based workforce development program for young adults seeking non-traditional pathways to careers in the arts and creative industries. Click on her image to learn more.

Jacob Buttry is a director, facilitator, and writer who uses theatre and performance to foster compassion, connection, and social change. His artistry and research have examined how artists negotiate distance and connection in audience interactions, how directors model care in rehearsal environments, and how theatre-based practices facilitate shame resilience and accountability. Recent projects include Monster Recess (interactive performance about play and shame), Intergalactic Compassion Council (interactive event using theatre to communicate social science research), and the Mental Health Monologues (verbatim theatre piece based on interviews around experiences with mental illness). Jacob recently finished an MFA student in Theatre for Youth & Community at Arizona State University, and he holds BAs in theatre and psychology from Texas Christian University (TCU). He works at ASU in student engagement and wellness for arts students. Click on his image to learn more. 

Recent Projects

Wholly Communion

This project used theatre techniques to facilitate community building and explore ideas about "compassionate community" among people presently or previously related to white evangelical church spaces.

This project, called "Wholly Communion," included drama-based workshops with (1) people who have left evangelical churches and (2) Protestant pastors, educators, and church members. It built on research into the harms people have experienced in church communities that embraced Christian nationalism and white evangelicalism. A group of artists took the insight about compassionate community from each of the two facilitations--particularly the assets and obstacles identified about the faith communities from the first group--and transform it into an interactive performance event outdoors at ASU. The outdoor, interactive performance told the story of 4 people navigating complex relationships and experiences in their Christian faith communities.

Monster Recess

Monster Recess is an outdoor, immersive theatre performance that centers playfulness and shame resilience. Whether currently a child who loves games or an adult who may feel they have outgrown hula-hooping, this performance invites people of all ages to embrace their playful side as they participate in childhood games alongside the "Play Monsters." But, BEWARE! The Shame Monster lurks around the corner to disrupt the Play Monsters' fun. Participants who want a higher level of engagement can search for the "Book of Monster," which reveals the Legend of the Shame Monster and gives them tips on how to turn him back into a Play Monster again.

Read more on Jacob's website.

Speak Easy

The guiding idea of Speak|Easy stems from adrienne maree brown’s belief that “to really transform our society, we will need to make justice one of the most pleasurable experiences we can have.” This immersive, interactive performance seeks to create a space for players to practice navigating difficult conversations on diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice topics while also coaching them through actions to disrupt microaggressions.

Speak|Easy was developed in collaboration with a collective of artists diverse both in terms of identity and artistic practice. Nine designers, musicians, and performers worked for two months on developing the interactive and visual components of Speak|Easy’s proof-of-concept performance.

Read more on Kristina's website.

Disruptive Collaboration in a Theatre of Radical Compassion

Our article on "Disruptive Collaboration in a Theatre of Radical Compassion" will be published in PARtake, the performance as research journal in an upcoming issue. This article demonstrates how a primary focus on care-based collaboration and inclusive practices in Everybody rehearsals at Arizona State University led led young artists to contribute more deeply to the interpretation of the play and to thereby exercise more ownership over the rehearsal process and product than they traditionally had experienced.


Everybody by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins prompts us to consider "How have you lived your life and why?" as we witness Death select an audience member (an actor in disguise) to step into the protagonist's role as they search for a companion to join them in their journey to die.

As the director, Kristina conceptualized this show through a Theatre of Radical Compassion lens, seeking to mix distance and emotional moments of connection aesthetically in order to encourage audiences to feel empathy, think critically, and act. Kristina and Jacob (as rehearsal facilitator) also led the creative team in "TRC Facilitations" to build community, democratize the creative process, and directly consider topics of compassion and care. 

Read more on Kristina's website.

Questions? Suggestions?

No thought too small.

Contact Us