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Political Theatre

Content here focuses on theatremakers, companies, and projects engaging with politics and political action. A great example of the power of this work is the video series Political Theatre as a Civil Right from the British-Romanian political theatre company BÉZNĂ Theatre.

The Latest

Art as a Weapon (Youth Against Invasion), Part Two
Essay
Art as a Weapon (Youth Against Invasion), Part Two
by The Freedom Theatre
18 June 2024
Art as a Weapon (Youth Against Invasion), Part One
Essay
Art as a Weapon (Youth Against Invasion), Part One
by The Freedom Theatre
17 June 2024
The Theatre Communications Group (TCG) National Conference
Video
The Theatre Communications Group (TCG) National Conference
Panels and Conversations about the State of American Theater
Thursday 20 June to Saturday 22 June 2024
Chicago, IL
event poster for theatre communications group national conference chicago 2024.
The Theatre Communications Group (TCG) National Conference
Video

The Theatre Communications Group (TCG) National Conference

Panels and Conversations about the State of American Theater

Thursday 20 June to Saturday 22 June 2024
Chicago, IL

The TCG National Conference is one of the largest nationwide gatherings of the not-for-profit theatre community. TCG has been gathering folks this way since 1976 and each year, the National Conference creates space for theatre practitioners across the globe to get inspired, learn from one another, and build toward collective action. It’s also been a way for TCG and the field to get intimately familiar with theatre communities around the country, and to channel the particular energy of their artists.

A group of protesters carrying a sign in support of The Freedom Theatre in Jenin.
Art as a Weapon (Youth Against Invasion), Part Two
Essay

Art as a Weapon (Youth Against Invasion), Part Two

18 June 2024

In the final installment of this two-part conversation, artists from the Freedom Theatre in Jenin, Palestine and Al Límite Collective in New York City come together to discuss the performance of Youth Against Invasion in the Cultural Resistance March, the Freedom Theatre’s global impact, and hopes for the future of the Freedom Theatre.

A zoom meeting featuring the authors of Youth Against Invastion.
Art as a Weapon (Youth Against Invasion), Part One
Essay

Art as a Weapon (Youth Against Invasion), Part One

17 June 2024

In the first installment of this two-part conversation, artists from The Freedom Theatre in Jenin, Palestine and Al Límite Collective in New York City come together to discuss the work of The Freedom Theatre and its school and the creation of Youth Against Invasion.

An actor speaks into a microphone in a dimly lit space.
How Theatre Can Create Positive Change in Our Food Systems
Essay

How Theatre Can Create Positive Change in Our Food Systems

29 May 2024

Food Tank’s Little Peasants bridged theatre and advocacy by staging an interactive play set during a union vote at a fictional international coffee chain. Elena Morris discusses the play’s development process and its place in the theatre-based food systems advocacy strategies employed by the nonprofit Food Tank.

A man plays a guitar in front of a microphone.
How Cultural Resistance for Palestine Makes Revolution Irresistible
Essay

How Cultural Resistance for Palestine Makes Revolution Irresistible

15 May 2024

Beto O’Byrne discusses the work of three theatre artists in New York whose acts of cultural resistance contribute to the movement for a free Palestine.

headshots of ten playwrights.
World Voices
Video

World Voices

Displacement Plays from Uganda, Lebanon, West Africa, Haiti and Ukranian Playwrights Project

Monday 13 May 2024
New York City

Join us for an evening of plays by nine writers who personally experienced displacement, migration, and war. Alongside four thirty-minute pieces, we will hear shorter ten-minute works by five young Ukrainian writers.

Poster image for the Abolitionist Theatre Book Launch event.
Into Abolitionist Theatre: A Guidebook for Liberatory Theatre-making
Video

Into Abolitionist Theatre: A Guidebook for Liberatory Theatre-making

A virtual book launch event

Wednesday 1 May 2024

Watch the Into Abolitionist Theatre: A Guidebook for Liberatory Theatre-making Book Launch Panel! Organized and moderated by Editor Rivka Eckert, contributors shared their perspectives and insights from the book.

A performer stands on a dimly lit stage in front of a whale setpiece.
Creating Work in Series in the Anthropocene
Essay

Creating Work in Series in the Anthropocene

22 April 2024

Chantal Bilodeau kicks off another installment of Theatre in the Age of Climate Change by reflecting on her journey working on the Arctic Cycle against the backdrop of the continuously increasing global temperature, and introducing the other playwrights who will be sharing about their commitment to creating a series of work about the climate crisis. 

A group of people sit in a circle listening to a speaker.
Viewpoints for Achieving Authentic Representation of Roma Communities on Stage
Essay

Viewpoints for Achieving Authentic Representation of Roma Communities on Stage

27 March 2024

Tímea Éva Bogya, dramaturg and project manager for Independent Theater Hungary and critic for Színház Magazine, and Márton Illés explore questions for theatremakers to ask themselves before portraying Roma communities on stage to ensure authentic representation. 

A group of performers hang in small hammocks onstage.
Should We Write Differently About Roma Theatre?
Essay

Should We Write Differently About Roma Theatre?

25 March 2024

Noémi Herczog, theatre critic and scholar based in Hungary and Romania, explores the question of how critics should be writing about Roma theatre. Should they take the social position of the Roma into account, or write purely about the art itself?   

Book cover for Black Patience
Black Patience: Performance, Civil Rights, and the Unfinished Project of Emancipation
Video

Black Patience: Performance, Civil Rights, and the Unfinished Project of Emancipation

A talk with Dr. Julius Fleming on his latest book, followed by a discussion with Hillary Miller

Monday 11 March 2024

Dr. Julius Fleming visits the Segal Center to discuss his recent book, Black Patience: Performance, Civil Rights, and the Unfinished Project of Emancipation. This talk will be followed by a conversation with Hillary Miller.

Five actors in suits stand in front of TVs reading The Iraq Inquiry
How LUNG Is Breathing Radical Joy into Theatre in the United Kingdom
Essay

How LUNG Is Breathing Radical Joy into Theatre in the United Kingdom

5 March 2024

verity healey speaks to Matt Woodhead and Helen Monks, co-directors of LUNG, about LUNG’s work making campaign theatre that uses verbatim theatre strategies and associated political work to explore issues impacting the United Kingdom.

A promotional graphic for the Kunafa and Shay podcast.
Theatre in Palestine
Podcast

Theatre in Palestine

31 January 2024

How can theatre make an impact in moments of crisis? During a time of ongoing genocide and brutal occupation in Palestine, this special episode focuses on Palestinian theatre and political action across borders. We discuss The Gaza Monologues and To The Good People of Gaza. Then Palestinian actor, writer, and scenographer Jeries AbuJaber joins us in conversation about what is currently happening in the West Bank and Gaza and his experience as a theatre artist in Palestine.

Nine performers stand side by side on stage and look outward to the audience.
Pinkwashing Islamophobia in Performance
Essay

Pinkwashing Islamophobia in Performance

30 January 2024

Joseph Dunne-Howrie reflects on DV8’s Can We Talk About This?, exploring how the show employs pinkwashing as a vehicle for Islamophobia and racism. Joseph highlights how, rather than espousing progressive values, the show uses similar tactics of alt-right troll Milo Yiannopoulos.

A promotional graphic for the Kunafa and Shay podcast.
Queer Dramaturgies in Turkish Theatre
Podcast

Queer Dramaturgies in Turkish Theatre

24 January 2024

How can we think of queerness as a form of political intervention? In this episode, we talk with Erdem Avşar about Turkish theatre, queer utopias, and ghosts. We examine queer dramaturgies in Turkish and international theatre, discuss translation into and from Turkish, re-think temporality in playwriting, and question what queer utopias look like onstage.

An actress sings passionately during a performance.
Interrogating the Politics of Oppression in The Struggle
Essay

Interrogating the Politics of Oppression in The Struggle

4 January 2024

Dan Kpodoh’s The Struggle dramatizes governmental and corporate exploitation in the oil-rich Niger Delta by telling the story of a group of militants who sought liberation but became corrupted by financial interests. Eseovwe Emakunu, a Nigerian theatre professional, interviews Kpodoh about the play’s function as protest theatre against political oppression.

A promotional graphic for Daughters of Lorraine.
The Thriving Legacy of Black Theatre: The Making of a Movement
Podcast

The Thriving Legacy of Black Theatre: The Making of a Movement

20 December 2023

Hosts Leticia Ridley and Jordan Ealey discuss Woodie King, Jr.’s 1978 documentary, Black Theatre: The Making of a Movement. They explore the documentary’s different themes, its impact on Black theatre history, and what it means for our present and future. 

A promotional graphic for the Kunafa and Shay podcast.
Affinity Spaces for MENA/SWANA and LGBTQIA+ Artists
Podcast

Affinity Spaces for MENA/SWANA and LGBTQIA+ Artists

13 December 2023

Affinity spaces have been an undercurrent of discussion across the three seasons of Kunafa and Shay. In this live session at the 2023 MENATMA Convening at Golden Thread Productions in San Francisco, in partnership with Mizna+RAWIfest, Marina and Nabra sit down with artists to discuss the nuances of MENA and SWANA affinity spaces and MENATMA, Mizna, and RAWI’s roles in facilitating national cultural affinity among artists of intersectional identities.

A promotional graphic for the Daughters of Lorraine Podcast.
We’ve Got Trouble in Mind
Podcast

We’ve Got Trouble in Mind

29 November 2023

Hosts Jordan Ealey and Leticia Ridley discuss the contributions made by Alice Childress and the historical and contemporary significance of her play, Trouble in Mind, including the filmed 2021 production at the National Theatre in London.

A group of people hold a white sheet between them on a lawn.
Performance, Pro-Democracy Protest, and Activism Across Cultures
Essay

Performance, Pro-Democracy Protest, and Activism Across Cultures

13 November 2023

Kristin Idaszak reflects on experiencing Theatre Du Polet’s Be Water, My Friend at the Prague Quadrennial. This protest art about Hong Kong’s fight for democracy in 2019, performed in the Czech Republic, crosses cultures, political regimes, and time periods.

event poster for the Middle Eastern North African Theater Makers Alliance (MENATMA) 2023 convening.
Fourth Annual Convening of the Middle Eastern North African Theater Makers Alliance (MENATMA)
Video

Fourth Annual Convening of the Middle Eastern North African Theater Makers Alliance (MENATMA)

Conversations About the Present and Future of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) Theatre

Saturday 28 October and Sunday 29 October 2023
San Francisco, CA

Does a Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) leader necessarily mean it's easier for MENA work to get produced? How do MENA theatremakers and educators from K-12 to university settings navigate questions of cultural competency, representation, and omission? How can we work together with other networks of color towards shared goals for our communities? MENATMA presented a weekend of intercommunity dialogues, panels, and keynotes to explore the state of MENA theater and artist sustainability moving forward.

Promotional graphic featuring the cover of The Art of Assembly.
The Art of Assembly. Political Theatre Today Book Talk
Video

The Art of Assembly. Political Theatre Today Book Talk

Curator and Author Florian Malzacher in Conversation with Art Critic Claire Bishop

Thursday 21 September 2023
New York City

In his book The Art of Assembly. Political Theatre Today curator and author Florian Malzacher surveys theatre today to demonstrate its political potential in both form and content. In a time of wide-ranging crisis, The Art of Assembly is a plea for a strong definition of the political and for a theatre that is not content merely to reflect the world’s ills but instead acts to change them.

Daughters of Lorraine Podcast teaser.
What Is Black Theatre?
Podcast

What Is Black Theatre?

20 September 2023

This episode will discuss the age old questions of what is Black theatre? What is a Black play? How do you know one when you see it? Leticia Ridley and Jordan Ealey provide an overview of the some of the most popular commentary on this question from Black theatre theorists of the past such as W.E.B Dubois, Alain Locke, and Alice Childress.

A troupe of dancers in formation mid-performance smile.
Reengineering Education in the Adagbabiri Community Through Theatre for Development
Essay

Reengineering Education in the Adagbabiri Community Through Theatre for Development

17 August 2023

Eseovwe Emakunu and Dennis U. Obire, co-founders of the Shanty Theatre, chronicle their work in the Adagbabiri Community in Bayelsa State, which is one of the most educationally deprived states in Nigeria. Using a theatre for development model, the group worked with local children to create a performance that demonstrated the importance of education in the social development of a community and nation.

A woman wearing a lacey crown stands alone on a carpeted floor with a hand extended in a "halt" gesture.
Anti-Terror Feminist Director Is in Russian Jail for “Justifying Terrorism”
Essay

Anti-Terror Feminist Director Is in Russian Jail for “Justifying Terrorism”

2 August 2023

After Russian courts found that Svetlana Petriychuk’s documentary theatre piece Finist the Brave Falcon “justified terrorism” due to its feminist aims, Petriychuk and director Zhenya Berkovich were jailed. Viktor Vilisov discusses the production, clarifying the production’s aims to amplify the experiences of Russian women whose attempts to flea Russian patriarchy has landed them in oppressive marriages to Syrian ISIS fighters.