Thomas Jefferson University

Tangles in Time


Tangles in Time was an original Theater of Witness production created and performed by people living with dementia, care partners and health professionals. 

Based on the performers’ own true stories of love, loss, illness and caring, the project weaves together live performance with original music, film and visual imagery. Tangles in Time invites all people to connect and build empathy—even through changes in memory and time. The live shows were performed at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral on September 14 and 15, 2019.

Although the live performances have already taken place, you can still experience Tangles in Time through our collection of videos—including the performers' stories, live performance, and interviews. To watch these stories of dementia, love, and loss, go to

About Theater of Witness

Theater of Witness is a form of testimonial performance performed by people sharing their personal and collective stories of suffering, transformation and peace. Developed more than thirty years ago by artistic director Teya Sepinuck, the work brings people together across divides of difference to bear witness to each other’s life experiences. Performers who have survived trauma, marginalization, oppression and the complexity of the human experience address some of society’s most challenging issues from a multiplicity of perspectives. Performances weave together the performers’ stories with music, video and visual imagery into dynamic theater that humanizes “the other” and cultivates compassion and empathy. Theater of Witness is a project of CultureTrust Greater Philadelphia.


John Best
Brienne Bush
Salena Cui
Bill Dougherty
Nora Dougherty
Kailyn Kim
Sunny Lai
Kimberly Mellon
Mary Anne Szkaradnik
Mike Szkaradnik
Michael J. Williams


Photos by Raymond Holman, Jr.


Tangles in Time was the culmination of Building Empathy Through the Arts, a two-year collaborative project between Jefferson, ARTZ Philadelphia and Theater of Witness. Support for Building Empathy Through the Arts has been provided to Thomas Jefferson University by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.