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How theater weathers wars, outlasts empires and survives pandemics | Cara Greene Epstein

How theater weathers wars, outlasts empires and survives pandemics | Cara Greene Epstein

Visit to get our entire library of TED Talks, transcripts, translations, personalized talk recommendations and more. When catastrophe strikes, art prevails -- and has done so for centuries. In this fascinating talk, writer and director Cara Greene Epstein places the closing of theaters during the coronavirus pandemic in a historical context, exploring how we can use this intermission to imagine a more just, representative and beautiful world, onstage and off. The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more. You're welcome to link to or embed these videos, forward them to others and share these ideas with people you know. Become a TED Member: Follow TED on Twitter: Like TED on Facebook: Subscribe to our channel: TED's videos may be used for non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons License, Attribution–Non Commercial–No Derivatives (or the CC BY – NC – ND 4.0 International) and in accordance with our TED Talks Usage Policy ( For more information on using TED for commercial purposes (e.g. employee learning, in a film or online course), please submit a Media Request at
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Cara Greene Epstein is not a doctor, but she has played one on TV.  
As a creator, Cara uses heart and humor to explore challenging social dynamics, the world around us, and our very human desire to find somewhere we belong.

Her award-winning first feature film Dragonfly, which she wrote and co-directed, is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. Cara's next feature project, Activated, earned her the Athena Film Festival Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship and is currently in development.
In her viral TED Talk How Theater Weathers Wars, Outlasts Empires, and Survives Pandemics,  Cara focuses on how we can use this time apart to build a more just, representative, and beautiful world together, on stage and off. This talk is heavily informed by Cara's work as a mentor teaching artist with Steppenwolf and Looking Glass theatre companies in Chicago and with Epic Theatre Ensemble in NYC.

As a TV writer, Cara was selected for the 2018 and 2019 SeriesFest Writer's Room Series, for which she developed and wrote episodes for Unreal Media's Drop Shot Divas and Growing Up Old. She's a Sundance Writers Lab finalist and her scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival for three-years running.  
Cara also works as a creative process and facilitation consultant for all sorts of organizations, from non-profits to Fortune 500  companies. She holds degrees from Cornell University, the Old Globe/University of San Diego MFA Acting program, and the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting.  You might also want to ask her about motherhood, competitive swimming, and how to portage a 75lbs canoe through the wilderness.

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