presented by Shawn Ketchum Johnson & ACTLab


Dates: May 10-May 26, 2019
Run time: approximately 65 minutes
Location: Eulalie Scandiuzzi Space 

Climate change – its effects on our planet, the current white-hot debate of its very existence, the promise that there is still time to change its course, the nagging feeling in the populace that time has run out – is arguably the most important, universal, global issue of our current moment.

And yet, most of us find only deep confusion when attempting to engage with the issue. The most successful tactic by far is to simply disconnect. A thoughtful exploration of social conscience, personal ambition, and deep time, Time to Tell provides an opportunity to complicate our biases and bring our confusions into the light. Are our beliefs helping us, or hindering us from a greater and more fruitful understanding?

Initially devised during a rehearsal/workshop process involving the collaboration of lauded American poet Elyse Fenton and a twelve-member ensemble, a workshop version of Time to Tell was publicly presented in September 2017 at the Lee Center for the Arts with support from Seattle University.

One viewer described this early workshop presentation as “an island of thought that materialized just in time for us to have this important conversation, and then faded away…I’ve never attended anything remotely like this before.”

Rewritten and retooled for its world premiere, Time to Tell is a fast-paced hybrid performance event that seeks to create an intimate but immediate experiential space to have a problematized conversation with its audience. Because, really:

It’s time to #talkaboutourfuture.

Shawn Ketchum Johnson is a Seattle artist whose commitment to community engagement led him into the theater as a scenographer, drawing on his experience in installation art, environmental assemblage and large-scale sculpture. Now an accomplished scenic designer, his work has been noted by critics and viewers. His designs have been the nominees and recipients of awards, including the 2016 Gregory Award for Outstanding Scenic Design which he received for the world premiere of Daisy at ACT Theatre. He is also a noted academic, holding the Scenic Design faculty position at Seattle University.

Johnson’s expertise in the nontraditional theatrical modes of site-specific and devised performance keep him linked to innovative socially-engaged ensembles throughout the country and the world, as well as providing the foundation of his performance-based hybrid artistic practice.

Melding the practices of performance and sculpture, Johnson’s hybrid work repurposes the materials of these modes to explore new territory — converting bodies to sculptures, objects to storytellers, environments to thoughtscapes. The metacritical nature of what constitutes “story” or “narrative” is always under scrutiny and often punctured by the process-driven aesthetic of this work.

Learn more about Shawn at and sign up for his mailing list here.


Nikk Arcega
Yadira Duarte
Shawn Ketchum Johnson
Lauren Linder
Stefan Richmond
Parmida Ziaei

Creative Team

The source material for Time to Tell was explored during a rehearsal workshop and research period leading to a public presentation in September 2017.

Original collaborators and devising ensemble:

Shawn Ketchum Johnson
Elyse Fenton

Lizzie Aguirre
Frances Bringloe
Brennan Bunn
Jenny Burkley
Ivan Guillermo
Will Harris
Mig Mrizek
Elaine Ortiz
Nic Parsons
Gabby Sigrist
Josh Swaby

To be announced.

Age & Content Considerations:

This production deals with heavy subject matter but is appropriate for all ages.

ACT believes that our patrons can determine what is offensive for themselves, and what is appropriate for their children. We don’t create age restrictions but do our best to offer content advisories for each show. For detailed information about show content and possible triggers, please contact

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