Social Justice & Political Theatre

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

The Latest

Try Not to Make a Mess When You Smash That Window In Protest
Essay

Try Not to Make a Mess When You Smash That Window In Protest

by Rebecca Benzie Fraser
8 July 2019
Hearing Each Other Over the Gun Fire
Essay

Hearing Each Other Over the Gun Fire

by TJ Parker-Young
24 June 2019
Calling in the Spirits
Essay

Calling in the Spirits

How Theatre Can Help Us Tell the Truth

by Pearl Cleage
20 June 2019
Howlround Theatre Commons
From the World Theatre Map
four actors onstage
Try Not to Make a Mess When You Smash That Window In Protest
Essay

Try Not to Make a Mess When You Smash That Window In Protest

8 July 2019

Rebecca Benzie Fraser uses Her Naked Skin as an example in the exploration of the different decisions made when it comes to staging violence by women and staging violence against women.

a group of people with their hands raised
Hearing Each Other Over the Gun Fire
Essay

Hearing Each Other Over the Gun Fire

24 June 2019

Several months after Pittsburgh’s Quantam Theatre programmed The Gun Show, there was a mass shooting at a synagogue in the city. TJ Parker discusses how the company responded to the crisis, both through the play and through community engagement.

five women of color in colorful dresses
Calling in the Spirits
Essay

Calling in the Spirits

How Theatre Can Help Us Tell the Truth

20 June 2019

Playwright Pearl Cleage discusses playwriting, activism, and how theatremakers can help save the world in this excerpt from her keynote speech at the 2019 TYA/USA National Festival & Conference.

a dark stage with a spotlight into a pit surrounded by two actors bodies
Risk in the Body and World at Warsaw’s Generation After 3 Showcase
Essay

Risk in the Body and World at Warsaw’s Generation After 3 Showcase

19 June 2019

Amanda L. Andrei reflects on Warsaw’s Generation After 3 festival, which had the theme of “risky projects,” and discusses four pieces she saw on risk as it relates to the body and the world.

two puppets
Creating a Feminist Punch and Judy Show
Essay

Creating a Feminist Punch and Judy Show

16 June 2019

Roxanna Myhrum looks at the history of the iconic puppet show Punch and Judy and Sarah Nolen’s feminist adaptation of it, Judy Save the Day.

audience members inside an enclosed transparent VR tent
Narrative Sharing and Narrative Shifting with Digital Technology
Essay

Narrative Sharing and Narrative Shifting with Digital Technology

10 June 2019

Members of the Detroit-based artist collective Complex Movements discuss the connection between technology, performance, and social justice community organizing.

pink flyer for the hemispheric institute 2019
Encuentro 2019 hosted by the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics
Video

Encuentro 2019 hosted by the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics

The World Inside Out: Humor, Noise, and Performance

Sunday 9 June to Thursday 13 June 2019
Mexico City

The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at New York University presented events from their Encuentro 2019 livestreaming from Mexico City on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv from Sunday 9 June to Thursday 13 June 2019.

close up of an actor playing the cello
The Search for Truth in Putin’s Russia
Essay

The Search for Truth in Putin’s Russia

How Teatr.doc’s “Civil Theatre” Is Exposing Injustice

4 June 2019

verity healey looks at Teatr.doc’s latest show, Torture, and the vital need for “truth-telling” theatre.

three different frames of a dancer
New to New Orleans / Venant d’arriver à la Nouvelle Orléans
Essay

New to New Orleans / Venant d’arriver à la Nouvelle Orléans

Three Theatremakers’ Impressions on Parades versus Protests /  Les impressions de trois femmes de théâtre des parades et des manifestations

23 May 2019

Amelia Parenteau, along with theatremakers Eva Doumbia and Marie Houdin, explores the similarities and differences of parades and protests.

actors performing outside
Theatre During a Time of Upheaval
Essay

Theatre During a Time of Upheaval

15 May 2019

Farai Mabeza offers an overview of theatre in Zimbabwe, from the major theatre in the capital city, to smaller community theatres, to the country’s festivals.

two performers making faces holding a rail
Acknowledging Impact, Regardless of Intent
Essay

Acknowledging Impact, Regardless of Intent

9 May 2019

Bri Ng Schwartz looks at the importance of companies doing the hard work when it comes to equity, diversity, and inclusion conversations and initiatives.

theater artists in discussion at the gathering
The Gathering from the CrossCurrents Festival
Video

The Gathering from the CrossCurrents Festival

The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University

Wednesday 8 May to Saturday 11 May 2019
Washington, DC

As part of the inaugural CrossCurrents festival, The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. presents The Gathering livestreaming on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv from Wednesday 8 May to Saturday 11 May 2019.

actors in a courtroom
When Theatre Turns Audiences Into Activists
Essay

When Theatre Turns Audiences Into Activists

10 April 2019

Tita Anntares examines different ways of building empathy in audiences through two recent plays, The Courtroom and To My Unborn Child, and a panel discussion hosted by the Center for Constitutional Rights.

actors onstage
From Kosovo
Essay

From Kosovo

A Playwright Who Provokes Change

4 April 2019

Karen Malpede sits down to talk with Kosovar playwright and provocateur Jeton Neziraj about freedom and theatre.

three actors onstage
Theatre and Politics in Malawi
Essay

Theatre and Politics in Malawi

2 April 2019

Mischeck Mzumara looks at the fearful realities of political involvement in Malawian theatre throughout history.

white outline of germany with text STOLEN
A staged reading of Stolen
Video

A staged reading of Stolen

A new play by  F. Lynne Bachleda at Rich Mix in London

Monday 1 April 2019
London, England

PMJ Productions presented a staged reading of a new play by F. Lynne Bachleda, directed by Prav MJ at Rich Mix, London livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Monday 1 April 2019 at 11:30 a.m. PDT (Los Angeles, UTC -7) / 2:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 18:30 UTC / 7:30 p.m. BST (London, UTC +1).

a group of performers dancing onstage with an audience watching
Performing Gitanidad (Romaniness) On Stage
Essay

Performing Gitanidad (Romaniness) On Stage

14 March 2019

Miguel Ángel Vargas unfolds the history of Gitano (Romani) theatre in Spain, from the eighteenth century to today.

 

The Revolution is Here and Now
Essay

The Revolution is Here and Now

The Revolution is Roma, Queer, and Feminist

12 March 2019

Arman Heljic uses the play Roma Armee to discuss how European Roma are rejecting their colonial legacy and reclaiming their narrative.

group of people onstage
The Other Role
Essay

The Other Role

On the Representation of Roma on the Hungarian Stage

11 March 2019

Katarzyna Pabijanek reflects on Roma presence in Hungarian theatre, both throughout history and today.

poster for heartland by Gabriel Jason Dean at the Vortex in Austin, Texas
Livestreaming a Performance of Heartland at the VORTEX in Austin, Texas
Video

Livestreaming a Performance of Heartland at the VORTEX in Austin, Texas

Thursday 31 January 2019
Austin, Texas

The VORTEX in Austin, Texas, in partnership with The National New Play Network, presents Heartland livestreaming on the global, commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 31 January 2018 at 6 p.m. PST (San Francisco) / 8 p.m. CST (Chicago) / 9 p.m. EST (New York) / Friday 1 February at 02:00 GMT/UTC+0 (London).

An actor lying on the ground with another actor looking on
“A woman kept alive by the sound of her voice”
Essay

“A woman kept alive by the sound of her voice”

The Femicides of Juárez in Isaac Gómez’s La Ruta

29 January 2019

Trevor Boffone examines Isaac Gómez’s new play La Ruta, which focuses on the feminicides in Mexico, and talks about the growing canon of Latinx theatre that dramatizes and theorizes on gendered violence.

yellow graphic of a lightbulb under construction
Entry Point 2019 Panel Discussions
Video

Entry Point 2019 Panel Discussions

Cleveland Public Theatre

Saturday 19 January 2019
Cleveland, OH

Cleveland Public Theatre presented two panel discussions as part of Entry Point 2019, A New Play Development Festival, livestreaming on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Saturday 19 January at 11:00 a.m. PST (San Francisco) / 1:00 p.m. CST (Chicago) / 2:00 p.m. EST (Cleveland).

performer with a collage of images being projected onto them
Power Plays
Essay

Power Plays

Cutting-Edge Political Theatre in Germany

10 January 2019

William Hand reflects on Germany’s Politik im Freien Theater Festival and discusses several shows that were presented there in November 2018.

six smiling people
Report from Theatre’s Front Line in Budapest
Essay

Report from Theatre’s Front Line in Budapest

3 January 2019

Howard Shalwitz gives us a glimpse into the theatre community in Budapest, Hungary, after a recent trip to the city.

three people performing onstage
How Refugees Are Using Theatre to Welcome Parisians into Their Lives
Essay

How Refugees Are Using Theatre to Welcome Parisians into Their Lives

13 December 2018

verity healey looks at how refugees in Paris are using theatre to create connections, break down barriers, and find community.