About Us

The Mission:
The Telling Project is a national performing arts non-profit that employs theater to deepen our understanding of the military and veterans’ experience. Greater understanding fosters receptivity, easing veterans’ transitions back to civil society, and allowing communities to benefit from the skills and experience they bring with them. Through this understanding, a community deepens its connection to its veterans, itself, and its place in the nation and the world.

The Work
The most direct path to understanding veterans’ experience is person-to-person contact.  With the dramatic decline in the numbers serving in the military – less than one percent of the population over the last eleven years of war – this contact will not happen through day-to-day life. It must be created and supported.  Through performance, The Telling Project puts veterans and military family members in front of their communities to share their stories.  We give veterans and military family members the opportunity to speak, and their communities the opportunity to listen.

Since 2008, The Telling Project has produced more than 60 original performances, put over 300 veterans and family members on stage and performed in 23 states across the nation.  It has been featured by PBS, the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, NPR, Inside Higher Ed and others, and supported by the Bob Woodruff Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Library of Congress, The Smithsonian Institution and others.  In 2009, The Telling Project, which is based in Austin, TX,  received 501(c)(3) status as a non-profit.

Telling Project Reviews:

“I cannot begin to put into words how important this experience has been for me. I could not recommend it enough for any veteran in America. We all have our own stories to tell, and the nation needs to hear them.”  – John K., Veteran

Telling was a life changing experience. It gave me strength and courage to share my story and a platform to heal.”  Salina L., Veteran & Military Spouse

“My unspoken truth kept me in dark places in my head, and the Telling Project shed light into that, which set me free. I could not heal alone.  – Dee B., Veteran & Military Spouse

No words can describe the brilliance of this performance. My heartfelt gratitude to the tellers. All your stories are so intellectually and emotionally honest and compelling. I salute you. You have given the public such important perspective.” – Janis J., Audience Member

The Telling did what theater at its best does: Start a conversation. The performances were very true and compelling, and the impact on the audience was extraordinary.” -Martha S., Audience Member

“We need these in every neighborhood, for every veteran…I know the needs vets have from the inside, and I know that your project meets one of our deep needs.-Harlan W., Veteran

Who We Are:

Jonathan Wei – Founder, Executive Director

Snapz Pro XScreenSnapz001Jonathan Wei is a writer, director and producer.  His work has appeared in The Village VoiceThe Iowa ReviewThe North American ReviewGlimmer Train and other publications and he is a past fellow of the Vermont Studio Center and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Jonathan’s work has been staged at the Guthrie Theater, the Library of Congress, Maryland Center for the Performing Arts and others, and featured by the New York Times, Washington Post, the Huffington Post, MSNBC, NPR and others.  Jonathan founded The Telling Project in 2008, and continues to serve as executive director.

Max Rayneard – Senior Writer/ Producer; Director of Research and Outcomes

IMG_0423Dr. Max Rayneard, co-creator of The Telling Project process,  is a South African Fulbright Scholar who has written, produced and/or directed for The Telling Project on a dozen productions.He has presented papers regarding his Telling Project work at both national and global conferences, and has been published in peer-reviewed academic and creative venues. He is a research affiliate of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program and the Program of Theater in the Department of English at Colgate University and holds a PhD in Comparative literature from The University of Oregon.

Telling Project Board of Directors

Caroline Morris, Board Chair
Director of Fellowships, St. Edward’s University

Aubrey Wilkerson, Member
Executive Director, Out Youth

Charlotte Gullick, Member
Director, Austin Community College Creative Writing Department

Erica Nicolae, Treasurer
Director of Quality Systems, Apollo EndoSurgery


In all productions, The Telling Project collaborates with local community organizations and individuals.  These collaborations are structured to the needs and resources of the community partners.  The Telling Project has worked with repertory groups, university theatre departments, veteran service organizations, community associations, governmental and professional organizations and private individuals.

The Telling Project interviews veterans and family members about their experiences with the military. All interviews are video-recorded, and The Telling Project then transcribes the interviews verbatim and constructs a script from the transcripts. Performers have the opportunity to think about, revise and shape the script at the beginning of the rehearsal process.

Performance Training, Rehearsing and Performing
When the interview process is complete, veterans and veterans’ family members interested in performing begin working with an experienced theatre director The prospective performers will undertake an 4-8 week course in performance.  When The Telling Project completes and hands over the script, performance training transitions to rehearsal. 4-8 weeks of rehearsal follow, culminating in performances of “Telling.”

Each performance is supported by a full-scale campaign to build interest and audience.  This campaign can be undertaken by The Telling Project, in collaboration with The Telling Project, or by the host community.

Production involves logistics and administration for the performance itself. This can be undertaken by The Telling Project, in collaboration with The Telling Project, or by the host community.

We are honored to be supported by the Bob Woodruff Foundation, allowing us to create more performances, reach more communities, and allow more veterans and military family members to tell their stories. The Woodruff Foundation’s mission is to ensure injured veterans and their families are thriving long after they return home.  That’s why they find and fund innovative programs in communities where veterans, their families and caregivers live and work.  That’s how The Woodruff Foundation tackles the problems that can prevent our veterans from fulfilling their dreams for the next chapter of their lives.




Upcoming Performances


Telling: Monadnock Region

with the Redfern Arts Center in Keene, NH

Redfern Arts Center in Keene, NH
April 4, 7:30-9:30pm;
Tix and info HERE

The Same Moon: Lansing

with the Peppermint Creek Theater Company in Lansing Michigan

Miller Performing Arts Center, 6025 Curry Lane, Lansing, MI
April 11 – 14 & 18 – 21, 2019, Thurs – Sat @ 8pm, Sun @ 2pm
Tix and info HERE

Photo by Luke Heikkila





Get Involved

Bring Telling To Your Town

If you are interested in sharing your story or would like to have The Telling Project come to your community or if you’re a business that would like information about sponsoring a Telling Project performance, please email us at info@thetellingproject.org


Partner Information Page

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Project Overview:

Every Telling Project production is a fully engaged partnership between The Telling Project and you, our host community.  Below is an outline of our partnership requirements. Recognizing that each community has it’s individual needs and resources, The Telling Project will work to shape each production and partnership to the strengths and needs of the partnering organizations and community.  If you have needs that don’t fit  exactly into the outline below, please contact us.  We want to work with you.


Partnership Outline

The Telling Project provides:

  • Veteran and veteran family performers (from within a host community)
  • Interview, transcription and scripting
  • Production consultation and overall project management
  • Promotional partnership

These services and the expenses attendant to them (admin, travel, lodging, etc.) will be provided pro bono by The Telling Project to qualifying host communities, in return for which the community will provide, either through financial means or in-kind, the elements listed below.

The host community provides: *

  • Rehearsal space (approx. 40 hours of availability)
  • Performance venue (minimum six performances**)
  • Promotional partnership
  • Promotional materials (printing, design, ad space)
  • Stage management, director, production assistant
  • Technical production staff
  • House staff

In its capacity of project consultant, The Telling Project will assist the host community as needed with all elements of the production. Timelines range from two month to six months.

*Please inquire about accelerated timelines, or the possibility of TTP providing on-the-ground artistic staff

** Performances can take place at multiple venues, and capacities can be negotiated.

To download the above as a pdf, please click here: TTP PARTNERSHIP FLYER.

Telling: Jersey Shore

This is the second of the two New Jersey productions, this one with the wonderful folks at Ocean County College, and performed at the Grunin Center for the Performing Arts. We had a great visit there this summer, and are really excited to see this performance coming to stage. See you there! For tickets and information on Telling: Jersey Shore, click HERE.

Telling: Wayne, NJ

We’ll be staging two productions in New Jersey this November. This one is a collaboration with William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ, and this is a great piece on the project – https://patch.com/new-jersey/wayne/veterans-share-their-personal-war-stories-stage. We love working regionally, and through coordination and serendipity, we were able to make this happen in the Garden State this year. We’ll see you there!

Featured Partner

We first worked with Dreux Carpenter as a designer in 2013, when he put together our imagery for the first “Telling: Austin, TX,” poster and program. Since then, we’ve returned to him repeatedly – for the quality, intelligence and integrity of his work. Most recently, we reached out to him to assist us with our “She Went to War,” promotional imagery. It was one of the largest scale productions we’ve ever undertaken, and we wanted to make sure it was done right. Dreux did not disappoint.

It’s our privilege to have this relationship. Check out his work at: http://www.dscarpenterdesign.com

Or reach out to him directly: dreux.carpenter@gmail.com.





In Studio Screening: Minnesota Remembers Vietnam

In conjunction with the release of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s landmark series, The Vietnam War, Twin Cities Public Television will be airing “Minnesota Remembers Vietnam: The Telling Project.” There will also be an in-studio screening of “Minnesota Remembers,” with the cast and crew (including Telling Project staff) present on September 29, 2017. Please join us. Tickets are available HERE. We hope to see you there.

Minnesota Remembers Vietnam

Our work with Twin Cities Public Television and a group of people as wonderful as any we have ever encountered is featured on the cover of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s magazine. Couldn’t be more thankful – to these wonderful performers and to the exceptional folks we worked with at TPT.

Full article here: http://www.cpb.org/spotlight/seventy-three-public-media-stations-37-states-dc-and-puerto-rico-host-conversations

“Riveting” “Spellbinding” “Superb”

“This 55-minute event proved absolutely riveting, emotional and honorable.” Graydon Royce, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Full reviews here of our recent, sold-out production, “She Went To War,” at The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts, the Acton Family Fund, Adept Word Management and, of course, our very good friends at The Guthrie Theater for a tremendous experience assembling and staging this wonderful production!

Star Tribune Review

Minnesota Public Radio Review

Lavender Magazine Review

North Mag Review

Twin Cities Arts Review

Talkin’ Broadway Review

For information on bring “She Went To War” to your community, email info@thetellingproject.

She Went To War

In March, 2017, SHE WENT TO WAR  opened at The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis to rave reviews. A three week run concluded with sold-out houses and standing ovations. SHE WENT TO WAR  is new work by The Telling Project, an autobiographical performance by four female veterans, all of whom, in widely varying capacities, experienced significant combat exposure during their terms in the military. All of the women in SWTW  have performed their stories with The Telling Project previously. Their stories speak to and for many, many more women whose roles put them in the line of fire. SWTW  will be an opportunity for the American public to understand and acknowledge the distinctive and important roles women have played on the battlefield.

“She Went To War,” was supported generously by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Acton Family Fund, Adept Word Management and, of course, our very good friends at The Guthrie Theater.