Social Justice & Political Theatre

Content here focuses on theatremakers, companies, and projects with a political or social justice mission.

The Latest

A Revolt of the Beavers for Our Time
Essay

A Revolt of the Beavers for Our Time

by Robert Hubbard
10 October 2018
The Impact of Youth Theatre in Palestine
Essay

The Impact of Youth Theatre in Palestine

by Ashley Marinaccio
25 September 2018
The Possibility of Generative Futures Through Embodied Practice
Essay

The Possibility of Generative Futures Through Embodied Practice

by Annalisa Dias
20 September 2018
Howlround Theatre Commons
From the World Theatre Map
four actors in costume
A Revolt of the Beavers for Our Time
Essay

A Revolt of the Beavers for Our Time

10 October 2018

Theatre professor Robert Hubbard writes about Kit Bix’s recent adaptation of Louis Lantz and Oscar Saul’s 1937 play Revolt of the Beavers for the 2018 Minnesota Fringe Festival.

The Impact of Youth Theatre in Palestine
Essay

The Impact of Youth Theatre in Palestine

25 September 2018

Ashley Marinaccio examines the importance of youth theatre in Palestine through the work of a number of organizations, including ASHTAR Theatre, the Freedom Theatre, and Al Rowwad Cultural and Theater Training Center.

The Possibility of Generative Futures Through Embodied Practice
Essay

The Possibility of Generative Futures Through Embodied Practice

20 September 2018

Annalisa Dias discusses her work with the newly formed Groundwater Arts Collective, and suggests ways that other theatremakers committed to climate justice can adopt the framework of a Just Transition.

Theatre's Part in the Quest to Save Public Land
Essay

Theatre's Part in the Quest to Save Public Land

19 September 2018

Ashley Teague discusses how Notch Theatre Company is using community-led theatre and storytelling to help fight to protect public land. 

Art on a Damaged Planet
Essay

Art on a Damaged Planet

the Theatre in the Age of Climate Change Convening

16 September 2018

Playwright MJ Halberstadt reports on Theatre of the Age of Climate Change convening, which took place 8-10 June 2018 in Boston, MA. 

Economic Precarity and Resiliency in Theatre
Essay

Economic Precarity and Resiliency in Theatre

an American Psalm

29 August 2018

Playwright Caridad Svich reflects on the economic reality of working in theatre.

Tilikum and Wading into Better Criticism
Essay

Tilikum and Wading into Better Criticism

28 August 2018

Yasmin Zacaria Mikhaiel talks about the importance of “good” criticism through the lens of Kristiana Rae Colón’s play Tilikum.

How Post-Colonial Imagination Can Make Theatre into an Agent of Revolution
Essay

How Post-Colonial Imagination Can Make Theatre into an Agent of Revolution

16 August 2018

Using three different plays—M. Butterfly, Iphigenia Crash Land Falls on the Neon Shell That Was Once Her Heart, and QPH—playwright Massi Monfiletto examines theatre’s revolutionary potential.

The Collaborative Possibilities of Mediaturgy
Essay

The Collaborative Possibilities of Mediaturgy

14 August 2018

Katherine Swimm discusses New Rep Theatre’s Boston production of Ripe Frenzy, and the innovative collaboration between playwright Jennifer Barclay and projection designer Jared Mezzocchi.

Talking about Protest with the Language of Actor Training
Essay

Talking about Protest with the Language of Actor Training

17 July 2018

Actor and literature/theatre professor Courtney Bailey Parker talks about national anthem protests, performance as activism, and theatre artists as mediators.

Eating the Rich
Essay

Eating the Rich

Sweeney Todd’s Vicious Capitalism

18 June 2018

Cassidy Dawn Graves writes about the anti-capitalist narrative present in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and the significance of producing the musical in 2018.

Theatre and Civil Rights
Podcast

Theatre and Civil Rights

Dr. Julie Burrell on the Importance of A Medal for Willie

5 June 2018

How did Black theatre connect with the Civil Rights Movement? Dr. Julie Burrell of Cleveland State University joins the Theatre History Podcast to talk about William B. Branch's one-act play A Medal for Willie and the underappreciated radicalism of theatre in the 1950s.

Roma Artists Telling Stories of Resistance, Not Victimhood
Essay

Roma Artists Telling Stories of Resistance, Not Victimhood

24 May 2018

Mihaela Drăgan interviews Sandra and Simonida Selimovic of Mindj Panther about their show Roma Armee, and the activist work they are doing in Austria to fight against Roma oppression.

In Search of Lost Hope
Essay

In Search of Lost Hope

Theatre Against All Odds in Afghanistan

15 May 2018

Theatre activist Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn reflects on the founding of the Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization, a political theatre group that has been working together for over ten years to create social change.

Taking Action
Essay

Taking Action

An Artist Becomes an Advocate

13 May 2018

Jessica Litwak, artistic director of the H.E.A.T Collective, explores the growing field of artist rights and safety, and talks about her dedication to “art of service,” the work that serves communities by facilitating creative personal and social change.

Representation Matters
Essay

Representation Matters

The Monologue Project

8 April 2018

Gab Cody reflects on the birth of The Monologue Project, an initiative that started in Pittsburgh, USA and Dallas, USA to increase the canon of audition-length monologues for women of African Descent.

Working with Students to Reclaim the Revolutionary Roots of Czech Theatre
Essay

Working with Students to Reclaim the Revolutionary Roots of Czech Theatre

4 April 2018

Arts educator Hannah Sachs talks about how introducing Theatre of the Oppressed to her students in the Czech Republic helped address xenophobia in the classroom, and slowly began to change the culture of the school for the better.

Five Grounding Techniques to Cultivate Resilient Ensembles
Essay

Five Grounding Techniques to Cultivate Resilient Ensembles

28 March 2018

US director and health and wellness educator Molly Schenck describes five useful rehearsal techniques for ensembles to adapt when creating work around difficult topics. 

Graz, Austria
Essay

Graz, Austria

City of Culture…City of Climate Change Communication

21 March 2018

American Studies scholar and educator Nassim Winnie Balestrini reports on how Climate Change Theatre Action relates to her seminar on cultural studies at the University of Graz in Austria.

Queer Climate Performance Art in the Most Unlikely Places
Essay

Queer Climate Performance Art in the Most Unlikely Places

20 March 2018

Peterson Toscano describes his solo show Everything is Connected, which tackles religion, LGBTQ issues, privilege, and climate change.

Why Do Women Climate More Than Men?
Essay

Why Do Women Climate More Than Men?

18 March 2018

Chantal Bilodeau kicks off this week’s series on Theatre in the Age of Climate Change by suggesting that women in the arts may be our planet’s best bet for survival.

In Kraków, Good Ghosts and Bad at the 2017 Divine Comedy Festival
Essay

In Kraków, Good Ghosts and Bad at the 2017 Divine Comedy Festival

13 March 2018

Robert Duffley reflects on four shows from the 2017 Divine Theatre Comedy Festival in Kraków, Poland.

Black Pain On Stage
Essay

Black Pain On Stage

1 March 2018

Jonathan Mandell looks at several current plays that depict violence by or against African Americans, including  LeKethia Dalcoe's A Small Oak Tree Runs Red, Gabriel Jason Dean's Terminus, and Althea Harris's Is God Is.

Resurgence in America’s Roots Region
Essay

Resurgence in America’s Roots Region

8 February 2018

Alex Ates looks at how the Free Southern Theater established a model of artmaking and activism in the South in the '60s and considers how the New South is primed for another generation of civic action artmaking. 

How to be an Active Artist
Essay

How to be an Active Artist

Reflections on Emerson College's Teach-In On Race

31 January 2018

Emerson College student Mary Frances Noser reflects on a campus-wide teach-in about race.