“A call to arms for our field. Like the seminal works of Grotowski and Brook, Hensley’s book in its quiet way could redefine and revolutionize theater for generations to come.”  —Bill Rausch, Artistic Director, Oregon Shakespeare Festival; co-founder, Cornerstone Theater Company

A Groundbreaking Book

Michelle Hensley, founder of Ten Thousand Things Theater, shares more than 20 years of her company's nationally unique work to bring professional theater to those in prisons, homeless shelters, adult education centers, and rural areas, as well as to the general public. Much more than a chronological history, All the Lights On is an articulate, compelling story about the radiant power of theater. Hensley distills what nontraditional audiences have taught her about Brecht, the Greeks, Shakespeare, musicals, and the essence of what is necessary to make vibrant and essential theater. She also explores the conditions her artists must perform under to reach these diverse audiences. Her experiences lead her to conclude that theater artists become better, and the art form itself much richer, when everyone is included in the audience.

Illuminating the Ten Thousand Things Model

In Ten Thousand Things productions, people from very different backgrounds and life situations sit next to each other in the round, often experiencing unexpected connections. Hensley writes in her introduction, "Not only do we have a chance to experience the multiple viewpoints of many characters in the play, but with all the lights on, we are able to consider the differing viewpoints of the other audience members seated around the circle. It all serves to increase, just a little, the radiance of our world."

“Michelle is a true visionary, and this book is a MUST READ! It illuminates so many new possibilities for the ways theater can bring joy and healing to the world.” —Lear de Bessonet, Obie Award-winning director; founder, Public Works at the Public Theater

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