"World on Fire is a moving experience: heartfelt, creative, compassionate
and inspiring art for our times." --Jack Kornfield

Conceived by performer/co-creator Naomi Newman, “World On Fire” is an ensemble music-theatre performance on climate change. Newman's long-time collaborator Corey Fischer (Fischer and Newman were co-founders of Traveling Jewish Theatre, 1978-2012) is directing Newman and accomplished cross-genre musicians Barbara Borden (drummer/percussionist) and Susanne DiVincenzo (bass/cello) in this new project. "World On Fire” is anything but a conventional modern poetry reading. This work reconnects poetry to the music from which it was once inseparable. We four collaborators are shaping a performance event that uses voice, language, rhythm, melody and imagination to create a space where audiences can celebrate all existence, mourn what’s been lost and discover how we might transcend our opinions, our sense of powerlessness and our fears.

Susanne DiVincenzo, Bass and Cello, is a founding member of Alive!, the women’s jazz quintet. In 1975 she established Wonder Woman Electric, an all-women Electrical Contracting Company in the Bay Area.  For several years she was concurrently touring with Alive! and earning her living as an electrician.  For 20 years she lived in New Jersey, playing in the Atlantic City Casinos for Andrea Bocelli, Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, Sarah Brightman and others.  She was the principal cellist of the Jersey Shore Pops Orchestra and the Assistant Director of the Atlantic Youth Orchestra.   For the last year she has been back in the Bay Area freelancing.  She has been teaching at the Girls’ Jazz and Blues Camp at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley, with the ELM Program (Enriching Lives Through Music) in San Rafael as well as teaching private lessons on cello and bass.

Before co-founding A Traveling Jewish Theatre Naomi Newman was a concert singer, television actor, improvisational theater director, and psychotherapist. For over three decades with ATJT she changed hats between director, playwright, and performer, winning awards in each field.  For her contributions to the cultural life in the Bay Area Ms Newman has received a Tikkun Award*, Mill Valley Creative Achievement Award, and Theatre Bay Area’s Community Leadership Award. A book containing an oral history of her life and career is now part of the Legacy Collection of The S.F. Performing Arts Museum.

Barbara Borden, percussionist and
drummer, began drumming at age ten. She is a composer and recording artist (
Beauty in the BeatAll Hearts Beating); a performing artist (solo and in collaboration with other musicians and artists including the all-women’s jazz quintet, Alive!); teacher (private and group lessons) and workshop facilitator. She is currently the subject of the acclaimed documentary, Keeper of the Beat: A Woman’s Journey Into the Heart of Drumming, which was recently screened on national PBS stations (kobmovie.com). Barbara is deeply moved by the transformative and unifying possibilities that drumming provides as it crosses all borders and boundaries to connect audiences and participants heart to heart, beat by beat.

Our Director

Corey Fischer  is an actor, writer and director who has been creating and performing theatre for over 50 years. In 1978, with Albert Greenberg and Naomi Newman, he co-founded Traveling Jewish Theatre and served the company as writer, actor and director for its 34 years of existence. Robert Hurwitt, then senior drama critic for the Chronicle, wrote that Fischer is “one of the Bay Area’s acting treasures.” In the fall of 2018 he played Shimon Peres in the West Coast premiere of Oslo, at the Marin Theatre CompanyHe is also a published writer of fiction and non-fiction, a teacher of improvisation and theatre-making and helps playwrights and performers develop new work. For information on Corey’s teaching and consulting, visit storypassage.com

He is married to writer China Galland, has three adult step-children and six grandchildren. 

Saturday, October 5, 2019
2:30PM - WOF Performance

Watershed Environmental
Poetry Festival--FREE
12:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Civic Center Park
2151 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way,
Berkeley, CA

Past Performances

July 4-7, 2019

National Women’s Music Festival

Middleton, WI


Friday, June 28, 2019   8pm

Ashkenaz

1317 San Pablo Ave. (at Gilman)

Berkeley, CA


Friday, April 12, 2019

CALIFORNIA JAZZ CONSERVATORY

RENDON HALL

2040 Addison St.

Berkeley, CA


September 15, 2018

Spirit Rock Meditation Center

Woodacre, CA

Part of Global Climate Action Summit – SF


“We loved World on Fire…A triumph! Great music, great words, and your subtle performance was magnificent.”
-- Norman Fischer

“In World on Fire, Beauty and Wisdom ally to help us understand and meet the worst crises of all life.”
-- Deena Metzger

“What a wonderful and powerful piece—a beautiful fabric of sound and words, emotions and contemplations.”
-- Cornelia Schultz

“We all have much to do to forestall Earth from coming to a flaming end. Thanks for making a way to understand it that is also engaging and enjoyable!”
-- Martin Russel

“What a completely wonderful event last night…The use of the cello, bass and percussion was truly magical and breathtaking…
one-of-a-kind!”
-- Penny Rosenwasser

“I was so moved by your performance…You revealed layers to me in my own work that I didn't realize were there…I hope this show has a full good life--it seemed to speak very directly to the audience last night--to all of us weary activists.”
-- Alison Luterman (one of the poets included in the piece)

“World on Fire is inspiring…No wonder they received a standing ovation when they performed at Spirit Rock!”
-- James Baraz

“I loved World on Fire. The shifting resonance of the drums, the strings, and the voice broke my heart open, and made me
weep and laugh.”
-- Susan Moon

“Wisdom Theater for this bereft darkening time…the truth named by the poets and channeled through the maturity of the three artists.’'
-- Ahbi Vernon

“Each spoken piece is both its own unique self and a part of the seamless whole. Two months after I saw World on Fire I am inspired by the words, the music, the brilliant performances and the hope that shines through it all.  Brava!”
-- Nan Brooks

“Wow, what a fabulous show! You held that audience every second - I was watching people being thrilled, amazed, amused and appropriately distressed.”
-- Jeanie Fineberg

 “We are deeply moved by World On Fire and it continues to resonate in our soul. The evening was magnificent…the collaboration, the content, the sorrow, the truth, the music. Thank you.”
-- Amy Metzenbaum

National Women’s Music Festival, Middleton, WI 2019 Kristin Lems Award for Social Change Through Music Presented on July 9, 2019 From Women in the Arts

National Women’s Music Festival, Middleton, WI
2019 Kristin Lems Award for
Social Change Through Music
Presented on July 9, 2019 by Women in the Arts