Thomas Jefferson University

The Empathy Project

The Empathy Project, a collaboration between Jefferson and Lantern Theater Company initiated by Dr. Sal Mangione, seeks to foster empathy and tolerance for ambiguity among health professions students using the tools and techniques of the theatrical form. 

Register now for the Fall 2021 Empathy Project with Lantern Theater Company

The Empathy Project consists of a series of workshops designed to introduce Jefferson students and health professionals to the theatrical form, explore the basic tools of actors and playwrights, and guide them through the writing and staging of original short plays.

Through performance exercises, adaptation, and collaboration, this project challenges students to engage with characters possessing a variety of backgrounds and viewpoints, while simultaneously asking students to work with an eye toward the audiences for the stories they tell. The program culminates in a live presentation of selected plays written by participants, performed by an ensemble of Lantern artists and program participants for an audience of students, staff, and community members.

This course is free, non-credit, and open to all students, faculty, and staff; space is limited. The deadline to register is Monday, September 13, 2021. 

To register, or for more information, contact: Marcie Mamura, Education Coordinator,

Fall 2021 Schedule: This course will meet in-person on the following Mondays, from 6:30-8:30pm: Sept. 20, Sept. 27, Oct. 4, Oct. 11, Nov. 8, Nov. 15, Nov. 29, & Dec. 6.        

The Empathy ProjectActors reading student plays at a year-end event

The Empathy Project in the News

Empathy experiment takes doctors, students out of the ‘surgical theater’ and into the actual theater. The Pulse,, April 30, 2015.

All the World’s a Stage, Even the Med School Classroom. Jefferson News, May 10, 2015.

Operating Theater: When doctors do drama. Philly Voice, May 27, 2016.

Feedback from Previous Jefferson Participants

“After the first few theater classes, I realized that I started perceiving patients differently during my hospital affiliate visits. I was thinking about them much like you would think about a character in a play.  It was an exciting thing to notice, and something that I hope will make me a good doctor.”

“I think the process of writing and acting helped me process a lot of the hurt and pain I see every day in the hospital. It also helped me feel good about the work I do and gave me permission to simply be me."

“I think participation in this theater program helped me to feel a little less like a medical student, and a little more like a human being again. And that's a very good thing.”