"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.

Conceived and Performed by Naomi Newman
Music Composed, Arranged and Performed by
Barbara Borden (Percussion) and Susanne DiVincenzo (Bass and Cello)
Directed by Corey Fischer


The Great Event 
by Leonard Cohen

“It’s going to happen very soon…”

Grief by Lucille Clifton

“begin with the pain of the grass…”

September 1, 1939 (excerpt) by W. H. Auden

“Defenseless under the night…”

What We Did in the Resistance by Alison Luterman

“In the beginning, we wept…”

Sonnet XVII (from Love Poem in the Time of Climate Change) by Craig Santos Perez

“I don’t love you as if you were rare earth metals…”

On the Fifth Day by Jane Hirshfield

“On the fifth day the scientists who studied the rivers…”

Walking in the Woods by Grace Paley

“That’s when I saw the old maple…”

You Know It Is All Going Down Now, Don’t You? By Deena Metzger

“Where shall we begin the rosary of grief?...”

Anyone Who Is Still Trying by David Hernandez

“Any person, any human, any someone who breaks up the fight…”

X by Imtiaz Dharker

“Hand shaking on the faucet, she looks at the X…”

The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

“When despair for the world grows in me…”

Let Them Not Say by Jane Hirshfield

“Let them not say: we did not see it…”

Thanks by W. S. Merwin

“Listen, with the night falling we are saying thank you…”

Perhaps the World Ends Here 
by Joy Harjo

“The world begins at a kitchen table…”

The Hag’s Cosmology by Naomi Newman

Susanne DiVincenzo is a founding member of the all-women jazz quintet, Alive! who have performed at many National Women’s Music Festivals. She has also played bass in recent NWMF Orchestras, including this year’s NWMF Women’s Composers Series Presents. Post-covid, she is currently involved in many musical projects: teaching workshops at the CA Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley; playing bass with Melba’s Kitchen, a 14-woman big band featuring the compositions and arrangements of Melba Liston and Mary Lou Williams from the 1940s; playing with the newly formed trio with Terry Garthwaite and Barbara Borden called “Joy Alive!”; as well as performing the piece “World on Fire” with Naomi Newman and Barbara Borden which opens NWMF, 2022 She Rocks stage on Thursday night. Susanne will also be performing at this year’s Festival with Tammy Hall and Mimi Fox on Saturday afternoon’s Spotlight Stage.

Before co-founding A Traveling Jewish Theatre, ATJT, Ms. Newman was a concert singer, television actor, (2 Star Trek episodes among others), improvisational theater director, and psychotherapist.

For over three decades with ATJT, she changed hats between director, playwright, and performer, winning awards in each field. She developed and performed four solo shows, an adaptation of the Biblical text, Song of Songs, and collaborated on seven of ATJT’s seminal works, including Berlin, Jerusalem & the Moon, published in TCG’s Ensemble Works, An Anthology.

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 a history of her life and career is part of the Legacy Collection of The S.F. Performing Arts Museum

Barbara Borden is a drummer and percussionist. She composes and records (Beauty in the Beat, All Hearts Beating). She performs and records solo and in collaboration with other musicians and artists, including 8-years with the all-women’s jazz group Alive! Borden enjoys teaching drumkit, djembe, and ceremonial drumming. She is the subject of the award-winning documentary, Barbara Borden: Keeper of the Beat. Currently Barbara is performing in the SF Bay Area with the trio Joy Alive! - Terry Garthwaite (vocals) and Susanne DiVincenzo (bass). At NWMF 2022, Barbara is happy to be playing with the following groups: “World on Fire” with Naomi Newman and DiVincenzo at Thursday night’s opening event; and on Saturday afternoon, in two separate sets with Tammy Hall and Mimi Fox. There will also be a screening of the video, She Dares to Drum, Borden’s solo autobiographical “percussion play,” written and directed by Naomi Newman. A Q&A with Borden and Newman will immediately follow the screening. Please check the program for times and places.

Our Director

Corey Fischer (1945-2020) 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. 

June 18, 2022, 7PM

O’Hanlon Center for the Arts

616 Throckmorton Ave
Mill Valley, CA

Tickets -  https://www.ohanloncenter.org

June 30-July 3, 2022

National Women's Music Festival

Marriott Madison West Hotel and Conference Center
Middleton, WI

Tickets - https://www.nwmf.info

Past Performances

December 31, 2019

Chochmat HaLev

Berkeley, CA

Part of Jennifer Berezan’s


October 5, 2019

Watershed Environmental
Poetry Festival

Berkeley, CA

July 4-7, 2019

National Women’s Music Festival

Middleton, WI

June 28, 2019


Berkeley, CA

April 12, 2019

California Jazz Conservatory

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…
-- 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