How has Mount Auburn impacted the way you think about the cycle of life and death?

May 17, 2023

Debra Wise and Eliza Fichter are two of Mount Auburn’s 2023 Artists-in-Residence and are interested in hearing stories about how the Cemetery has affected people’s thoughts and feelings on mortality. If Mount Auburn has been a special place for you, they would love to hear from you! They will weave these conversations into a collection of audio stories that celebrate Mount Auburn and explore the ways in which we talk about death. If you are interested, please fill out this short form.’

DEBRA WISE co-founded Underground Railway Theater in 1979, for 30 years touring a socially-engaged repertoire to theaters and communities, as well as puppet spectacles commissioned by major orchestras. In 2007, she co-founded Central Square Theater, helming award-winning productions as Artistic Director (e.g. Vanity Fairblack odyssey boston, with Front Porch; ConstellationsThe Convert) and directing (Christmas Carol, adapted for actors and puppetry). Recent acting appearances include: The Half-Life of Marie CurieVanity Fair (CST); Much Ado About Nothing (Commonwealth Shakespeare); Escaped AloneDolls House 2 (Gamm); People Places & Things (Speakeasy); upcoming: Angels in America (CST). She currently is program director of Catalyst Collaorative@MIT (CST’s science/theater partnership), and is Producing Artistic Director for a new project about Black abolitionist history in Northeast Ohio, working with playwright Ifa Bayeza ( With URT Founding Director Wes Sanders, she co-authored a digital book documenting URT’s first decades:

ELIZA FICHTER (she/they) is a theater maker and visual artist from Massachusetts. Eliza has taught theater workshops across the country in museum galleries, public schools, performing arts centers, prisons, assisted living facilities and military bases, and has worked as a teaching artist with Olney Theater Center, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, The Putney School and New Repertory Theatre. Regional theatre projects include BEDLAM and The Nora Theatre Company (The Crucible), Central Square Theater (The Revolutionists), Underground Railway Theater (Matchless & The Happy Prince), and Olney Theatre Center (Macbeth, The Comedy of Errors, Odyssey). As a printmaker, Eliza’s work explores interdependence in relation to the environment and the human body. Eliza received a BFA in Acting from Boston University and a MEd in Arts Education from Harvard University. In graduate school, Eliza researched natural deathcare practices and interviewed dozens of end-of-life care workers and advocates throughout Massachusetts.

For their residency, this mother-daughter duo will create a series of audio stories crafted from interviews with people connected to Mount Auburn. The audio stories will explore how and why we talk with each other about death and with whom we have those conversations.

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