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Grounded: A Live Theater & Community Discussion Series — The Military Experience and Culture & the Ethics of War and Autonomous Weapons Systems

February 20, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm MST

|Recurring Event (See all)

One event on February 27, 2022 at 1:00 pm

Be it past or present, near or far, we our all bound together and connected in deeply human ways.  This three-week live theater and community discussion series explores this connection by looking at the military experience, community, and ethics from the context of war. 

Each weekend will feature live performances of playwright George Brant’s Grounded –a monologue style play that revolves around a female drone pilot as she struggles with the realities of combat & strife, at home and abroad. Starring local actress Katy Wright, produced & directed by Ross P. Nelson (of Raven’s Feather Productions), and hosted by Pamela Mencher (of Helena Avenue Theater).  

In addition two community discussions (or symposiums), each featuring a special guest speaker leader, will also take place.  Questions raised in/by the live performance will be the focus of each of our symposiums.

Live Performance Trailers

Performance & Symposium Dates

  • Show Dates: February 17th, 2022 – March 6th, 2022 (Thurs/Fri/Sat) – For more show information visit Raven’s Feather Productions
  • Community Discussion Date(s): Sunday, Feb. 20th & Sunday, Feb, 27th 

What Our Symposiums Will Explore

Our community discussions will involve a combination of presentation and dialogue/Q & A and explore questions/topics raised in the live performance:

  • The Military Experience & Culture:  The first symposium — led by Elizabeth Barrs, Lieutenant Colonel of the U.S. Army (Retired), Instructor of Veteran’s Studies at University of Montana, and Humanities MT Speaker — will explore perspectives on community, military culture & conflict as experienced and lived by active-duty members and veterans, family members of active-duty and veterans, and the community at large.  Scheduled for Sunday, February 20th.

Through thoughtful conversation, the discussion series provides a means by which to gain new perspectives & foster community and enriched understanding across generations, place, and experience.

People of all ages and backgrounds are invited to participate.  Live shows are ticketed through Helena Avenue Theater.  The community discussions are free.  Community members do NOT need to see the live performance in order to participate in the discussion (though doing so will certainly add to the experience). 

Sun. February 20th

“The Military Experience & Culture”

Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Elizabeth Barrs

Retired Lieutenant Colonel of the U.S. Army, Instructor of Veteran’s Studies at Missoula College, and Humanities MT Speaker

About Lieutenant Colonel Barrs

Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Elizabeth Barrs was commissioned as a Military Intelligence Officer in 1987 through Army ROTC at Loyola University of Chicago. In her nearly 21-year active-duty career, she served in command and staff positions ranging from platoon leader and company commander to the senior intelligence officer in infantry and armored divisions. She served in combat in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. She deployed in support of humanitarian operations after Hurricane Andrew and peace operations for Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti. She was also a Senior Duty Officer on the National Security Council staff in the White House Situation Room.

LTC Barrs retired from active duty in October 2008. Since August 2013 she helped develop the Veterans Studies curriculum at Eastern Kentucky University and more recently at the University of Montana. She is currently a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Montana. Elizabeth Barrs is from the Big Island of Hawaii and lives in Missoula, Montana.

Sun. February 27th

“Ethics of War & Autonomous Weapons Systems”

Major Hunter Cantrell

Philosopher, Assistant Professor at U.S. Military Academy West Point, and active duty member of the U.S. Army

About Major Cantrell

Major Hunter Cantrell graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 2010, commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Transportation Corps, and currently serves as a Multifunctional Logistics Officer. Hunter is originally from Richmond, Virginia but also grew up in Lynchburg, Virginia and Charlotte, North Carolina. While at the Virginia Military Institute he majored in International Studies and Political Science with a Minor in Writing.

Hunter was stationed at Fort Eustis, VA with the 690th Rapid Port Opening Element. While in the 690th RPOE he served as a Distribution Platoon Leader and the Operations Officer. While serving in the 690th RPOE, Hunter was selected as the 2011 Surface Deployment and Distribution Commands MG Henry Del Mar Junior Officer of the Year. He then moved to the 833rd Transportation Battalion, 597th Transportation Brigade staff to serve as the Assistant S3 for Training. From there, Hunter was assigned to the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas. In the summer of 2015 he assumed command of the Golf Forward Support Company, supporting the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment. Hunter deployed with his unit to the Korean Peninsula.

Upon redeployment from Korea, Hunter attended graduate school from 2017-2019 at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA, where he earned a Master’s Degree in Philosophy. His thesis was “Arguments for Banning Autonomous Weapon Systems: A Critique.” His thesis took the First Inamori Center for Ethics and Excellence, Best Military Thesis Competition, 2019.

Hunter also has a Master’s Degree in Intelligence Studies with a concentration in Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.  His scholarly interests include the ethics of autonomous weapon systems, the interaction of claim rights on the battlefield, military ethics (broadly construed), and social/political philosophy.

Hunter has been married to Tiffany Cantrell since December 2012 and is the father of Holden (7) and Bryson (5).

Major Cantrell has the following articles published or forthcoming:

  • “Arguments for Banning Autonomous Weapon Systems: A Critique,” International Journal of Ethical Leadership, July 2021
  • “Tolerating the Intolerable: A Method to Prevent Radicalization,” Forthcoming in a Concerned Philosophers for Peace Annotated Volume (In production)
  • “The Keys to Success for a Forward Support Company at the National Training Center,”  Army  Sustainment Magazine, March-April 2018

Major Cantrell has presented at the following conferences:

  • International Society of Military Ethics, US Division, July 2021
  • Computer Ethics Philosophical Enquiry and International Association for Computing and Philosophy Joint Conference, July 2021
  • Society of Philosophy and Technology, June 2021
  • International Society of Military Ethics, European Division, May 2019 and June 2021
  • Association for Practical and Professional Ethics- 2018, 2019, and 2020
  • Manchester Center for Political Theory Annual Conference, September 2020
  • Concerned Philosophers for Peace Annual Conference, October 2018
  • Ecumenical Council of the Church of Norway, June 2019

When & Where

Program Details

Show Dates: Feb 17th -March 6th 2022 (Thurs. – Sat. Evenings)

Community Discussion Dates: Sun. Feb. 20th & 27th (1pm-3pm)

Location: Helena Avenue Theater

Ticket Info

Show Tickets: Available through Helena Avenue Theater

Community Discussions Cost: FREE (Limited Seating, 75-90 People Max.)


Helena Avenue Theater
1319 Helena Avenue
Helena, MT 59602 United States
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