The Campfire Project

    The Campfire Project-an artistic partnership with families in exile.

    The Campfire Project

    Action is eloquence - Shakespeare

     Ritsona, Greece
    This is a Fiscally-Sponsored Project

    Fiscally Sponsored by Fractured Atlas

    It's Happening Because of You!

    We have been live with our campaign for just over two weeks and we have over 20% of our funding in place.

    Thank you to Broadway Care/Equity Fights AIDS for an incredible and generous gift to give us lift off! Their seed money provides necessary funding for the research and development we began in December in Greece at the camp.

    And thank you to over 114 of you who have made such beautiful donations and comments in these first two weeks, providing over $22,000.  We are over the moon.

    Please continue to share our project with your friends and loved ones.  We still have an ambitious goal ahead of us in these next 40 days.  Everyone small gift adds up to incredible generosity, so thank you for believing and generating hope.

    For more inför always visit our site

    love, Jess, Jenny, Arin and Mary Mitchell


    To engage residents of a refugee camp in Greece in a bi-lingual performance of Shakespeare's The Tempest utilizing live music, dance, song, and mask.

    This project was conceived of by actress and teacher Jessica Hecht and developed with 3 female theatre artists.  Arin Arbus (Shakespeare director) , Mary Mitchell Campbell (ASTEP  founder (Artists Striving to End Poverty) and music director), Jenny Gersten (theatre producer) and Jessica have curated a company of performer/teachers to provide Syrian refugees with an outlet to exercise imagination and to express their humanity.

    Over the course of four weeks, twelve theatre artists from New York City will collaborate with the refugees in Ritsona, Greece to create and perform a theatrical production based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Sixteen refugees will be cast as actors, while dozens of children and teens will learn music and movement that will be incorporated into the production. Still others will be brought on board to help with the construction of sets, props, costumes and masks.  We expect that most of the camp's population (over 700) will attend the final performance.  

    Every participant in the New York team is both a teacher and an artist so at various points throughout everyday of our rehearsal process we will be carrying out workshops in several disciplines. 
    As the majority of refugees at this camp speak Arabic, these workshops as well as the production will be conducted in both Arabic and English. Four members of our team speak Arabic fluently, one of whom was born and raised in Syria, and received his training at their National Theatre School. 


    In a setting where the individual is often forgotten and personal dreams and goals are put on hold, I Am You’s education program at Ritsona aims to nurture ambitions, talents and skills of all who wish to participate in meaningful and stimulating classes and activities. However, funding for education - and by extension, the quantity of classes and activities offered - is extremely limited. With The Campfire Project, we will further I Am You’s education mission, using a theater project centered around Shakespeare’s The Tempest to help foster a sense of purpose to people’s lives while countervailing fear, anxiety and frustration. 
    “[They] have lost everything: home, possessions, friends, and often family ... education has a special value as the one thing that no one can take away from [them].”
    – Laura Bates, Shakespeare Saved My Life 
    Of course education in the camps helped the children to develop useful skills, but more so it reignited their thirst for knowledge and inspired the realization that their future still held potential. The work could be difficult, but to see the children light up as their minds were stimulated and their curiosity sparked was incredibly uplifting. For refugees, whose situation can feel despairingly stagnant, the education programs we were leading created hope in the possibility of a future beyond life in the camps.
    - Colette Cavanagh, Campfire Project Education Director on her previous experience working in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon

    Why $125,000?
    • 12 round-trip plane tickets from New York City to Athens 
    • Food and lodging for the 12 New York theater artists + travel stipend for 21 days
    • Materials for sets and props
    • 20 Costumes
    • Arabic/English translator 
    • 32 scripts (in Arabic and English)
    • Three rental cars and fuel for transport from Chalkida to the camp in Ritsona
    • Film equipment to document the process
    • Rehearsal space in New York City
    • Travel and project insurance
    • Bottled water, sunscreen


    This thoughtfully curated group of artists and educators, each bring their own bit of magic to the project...

    • 1 director - Arin Arbus
    • 1 music director - Mary-Mitchell Campbell
    • 1 producer - Jenny Gersten
    • 1 composer - César Alvarez
    • 1 choreographer - David Neumann
    • 1 clown - Orlando Pabatoy
    • 1 mask master - Shelley Wyant
    • 2 actors - Adham Murched, Osh Ghanimah
    • 2 actresses - Rasha Zamamiri, Jessica Hecht
    • 1 stage manager - Bess Glorioso
    • 1 technical director - Dave Hugo
    • 1 education director - Colette Cavanagh


    Gratitude Shout Out on Social Media

    Donate $25.00 or more

    Amount is fully tax-deductible.

    Gifts of $25 and up are meaningful, we'll want the world to know by l personally thanking you on our Twitter feed.

    A photo of appreciation

    Donate $500.00 or more

    Amount over $30.00 is tax-deductible.

     A framed production photo by our documentarian Daphne Trollis - 
    (greek documentary film maker who has chronicled the crisis since October 2015)

    A photo book of production images

    Donate $1,000.00 or more

    Amount over $50.00 is tax-deductible.

    A photo book of images from our stay by camp documentarian , Daphne Trollis