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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

Theatre in Palestine
Podcast
Theatre in Palestine
by Marina Johnson, Nabra Nelson, Jeries AbuJaber
31 January 2024
Pinkwashing Islamophobia in Performance
Essay
Pinkwashing Islamophobia in Performance
by Joseph Dunne-Howrie
30 January 2024
Queer Dramaturgies in Turkish Theatre
Podcast
Queer Dramaturgies in Turkish Theatre
by Marina Johnson, Nabra Nelson, Erdem Avşar
24 January 2024
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.

event poster for Retooling Green Tool for Theatre in Africa.
Retooling Green Tools for Theatre in Africa
Video

Retooling Green Tools for Theatre in Africa

Insights from Practitioners

Wednesday 19 July 2023
Egypt, Ghana

Greening the theatre is crucial to the sustainability of theatre and the planet. Theatre designers such as lighting personnel, set designers, costumers, property designers, and sound engineers are rethinking and retooling for the purpose of creating a more eco-friendly, sustainable, and environmentally just and responsible theatre practice. In this episode, we bring theatre practitioners (such as designers and eco-scenographers) who are advancing sustainable artistic values in their practice.

event poster for ecotheatre Decolonizing the Colonized Narrative.
Ecotheatre
Video

Ecotheatre

Decolonizing the Colonized Narrative

Wednesday 12 July 2023
Ghana, Kenya, Burundi

Climate justice is not complete without decentering colonial narratives and practices in Africa. For instance, many theatre projects/initiatives on climate action in Africa have been the brainchild of actors from the Global North. Which increases the tendency for such projects/initiatives to reinforce follow the colonial narrative. Although curators and co-facilitators of such projects are sometimes indigenes of African countries, the agendas of foreign interventions are imposed on the creative process.

event poster for Environmental Theatre and Climate Justice in Africa.
Environmental Theatre and Climate Justice in Africa
Video

Environmental Theatre and Climate Justice in Africa

How Did We Get Here? How Do We Move Forward?

Wednesday 5 July 2023
Uganda, Kenya

Environmental theatre in Africa has been a vital medium for creating awareness of and learning about climate change on the continent. Artists are aware that climate change has come to stay, the need to engage the art to discuss issues such as climate change mitigation strategies, anticipatory adaptation modes and climate justice. This episode introduces the series. Guest speakers reflect on the question of environmental theatre and climate justice in Africa.

Event poster for Andy Field’s Encounterism.
Andy Field’s Encounterism
Video

Andy Field’s Encounterism

Andy Field Talks about Forest Fringe—an Independent, Not-for-Profit Space in the Edinburgh Festival

Monday 5 June 2023
New York City

For over ten years as of this event, Forest Fringe has built a community of artists and playwrights. Each year they return to Edinburgh they experiment with different ways of doing things and new contexts to accommodate even the most unusual experiences. Meanwhile they’ve also started exploring beyond the festival, creating new projects across the UK and internationally, including a festival in an old cinema in the center of Bangkok, a series of performances on night buses across London, and a traveling library of audio experiences.

From the Ground Up Podcast Teaser image featuring guest profile image.
Turning City Council Meetings into Performance
Podcast

Turning City Council Meetings into Performance

10 May 2023

Creatives and book authors Mallory Catlett and Aaron Landsman dig into their new book based on their piece City Council Meeting, an exciting performance, rooted in a commonplace bureaucratic event, that develops dynamic participatory relationships with audiences and local government.

Segal theatre center logo.
Edouard Glissant’s Tale of Black Histories (Histoire de nègre)
Video

Edouard Glissant’s Tale of Black Histories (Histoire de nègre)

A Conversation with Director Gilbert Laumord, Producer Elvia Gutiérrez, and Festival Director Eddy Compper

Friday 5 May 2023
New York City

Join us for a talk with Caribbean theatre director Gilbert Laumord (Guadeloupe) discussing his latest work, Tale of Black Histories (Histoire de nègre), by the late, legendary Caribbean writer, poet, and philosopher Édouard Glissant. Born in Martinique, writer Édouard Glissant and his colleagues at the Institut Martiniquais d’études (IME) wrote and performed this intellectually rich, formally innovative, yet long-neglected unique play themselves in 1971–72.

event poster for the art of assembly.
Book Talk: The Art of Assembly: Political Theatre Today
Video

Book Talk: The Art of Assembly: Political Theatre Today

Navigating the Space Between Representation and Participation

Thursday 4 May 2023
New York City

Join us for a Zoom talk with author and curator Florian Malzacher to discuss the upcoming Segal Center publication The Art of Assembly: Political Theatre Today. The Art of Assembly surveys theatre today to demonstrate its political potential in both form and content.

From the Ground Up Podcast Teaser image featuring guest profile image.
Looking for Another Way
Podcast

Looking for Another Way

3 May 2023

Playwright and director Karen Malpede joins Jeffrey Mosser to talk about her career and connections from the Open Theater to Theater Three Collaborative, as well as her partner George Bartenieff, an actor and champion for the avant-garde.

Segal theatre center logo.
New Plays from the Caribbean
Video

New Plays from the Caribbean

With Stéphanie Bérard (France), Daniely Francisque (Martinique), Elvia Gutiérrez (Mexico, China), Gaël Octavia, and Others

Tuesday 2 May 2023
New York City

Join us for a conversation celebrating the unique anthology and latest Segal Center Publication, New Plays from the Caribbean, a most significant and lasting part of the 2019 Caribbean Theater Project ACT (Actions Caribéennes Théâtrales)—initiated and co-organized by the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center in New York City, the theatre company SIYAJ from Guadeloupe, and Stéphanie Bérard.

Headshot of Andreas Weber.
Whole Earth Talk #3: Andreas Weber (Germany)
Video

Whole Earth Talk #3: Andreas Weber (Germany)

The New Role Theatre and Performance Can and Should Play in the New Age of the Anthropocene

Thursday 20 April 2023
New York City

Join us for a Whole Earth Conversation with Andreas Weber (Germany) about the new role theatre and performance can and should play in the new age of the Anthropocene, a geological era shaped by humans rather than by nature. We ask how the significant symbolic, imaginary, and real space of theatre can help artists and audiences realize that a contemporary theatre and performance practice can no longer just represents interhuman conflicts.

Event poster for no summary Comedy as a Form of Solidarity and Resistance.
NO SUMMARY: Comedy as a Form of Solidarity and Resistance
Video

NO SUMMARY: Comedy as a Form of Solidarity and Resistance

A Conversation with Artists and Students of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Columbia College Chicago

Friday 14 April 2023
United States

In the first episode of our 2023 season, Golden Thread’s Sahar Assaf, executive artistic director, and Wafaa Bilal, artist-in-residence, will be joined by the classes of associate professor Simon Anderson, a British-born-and-educated cultural historian, and interdisciplinary Syrian artist Sami Hussain Ismat, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Columbia College Chicago.

portrait of researcher and theatre artist Frédérique Aït-Touati.
Whole Earth Talk #2: Frédérique Aït-Touati
Video

Whole Earth Talk #2: Frédérique Aït-Touati

The New Role Theatre and Performance Can and Should Play in the New Age of the Anthropocene

Friday 14 April 2023
New York City

Join us for a Whole Earth Conversation with Frédérique Aït-Touati (France) about the new role theatre and performance can and should play in the new age of the Anthropocene, a geological era shaped by humans rather than by nature. We ask how the significant symbolic, imaginary, and real space of theatre can help artists and audiences realize that a contemporary theatre and performance practice can no longer just represents interhuman conflicts.