What: The Space Between began in 2017 as an outdoor, public reading of What a Stranger May Know by Erik Ehn on Henderson Lawn in Blacksburg, followed by a series of active community dialogues on violence and peace that culminated in an community art installation/dialogue vigil. The goal of these events was to foster spaces of exploration and connection between where we have come from, where we were ten years after the VT tragedy and how we want to build our communities of the future.

The Space Between began as a part of other memorial programming and specifically the 32 Days series, a group of activities, talks, performances, vigils and conversations on community, resilience, reflection and remembrance that took place for the 10th anniversary of the VT shooting. It continues as an ongoing conversation on this website, a gathering point for ideas, reflections and potential future actions/expressions on gun violence, peace and forgiveness.

Who: The Space Between is a continuing project conceived by the Space Between Collective: Bob Leonard (Professor VT School of Performing Arts),  Erik Ehn (Playwright, Brown University) Dorothy Atkinson  (VT Alumna MFA Directing and Dialogue 2011), Thomas Murray (VT MFA Directing and Dialogue 2018) and Francine Dulong (MA Applied Theatre Royal Central School of Speech and Drama 2015). We would like to thank all the members of the Blacksburg community who participated in the public reading of What A Stranger May Know, the subsequent dialogues and who continue to be involved in the conversation and healing. 

Why: One of our team, Francine,  is personally involved in this project as she lost her mother Jocelyne Couture-Nowak on April 16th, 2007. After being involved in the first production of What a Stranger May Know for the 5th anniversary in 2012 , it was the beginning of a new conversation for her, an ongoing dialogue between herself as an artist, as her mother’s daughter, and as a teacher. Then she asked – ‘How do I invite others into this process and what are the connection points between our stories? How can we respond when this keeps happening across the country?’

The Space Between is a link in time, a potential connection between strangers, the threads we weave in the creation of our communities, like a closet  full of warm sweaters for everyone in town… the space we live and the millions of bridges we build and breakdown everyday…both big and small. 

The Space Between is a new conversation, the beginning of sharing our stories, an openness to see where they will take us and perhaps new actions and artistic expressions will emerge as we try to grapple with what unites us and what divides us when we talk about gun violence.



Stay tuned to this space for future actions. For now, please have a look at our blog as we update the archive and reflect towards the future.

All are welcome, spread the word!