Social Justice & Political Theatre

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

The Latest

Anticolonial Creative Collaboration and the Development of Mirror Butterfly
Essay

Anticolonial Creative Collaboration and the Development of Mirror Butterfly

by Benjamin Barson, Gizelxanath Rodriguez
15 August 2019
Tragedy That Heals Amid Heartbeat Laws
Essay

Tragedy That Heals Amid Heartbeat Laws

Melinda Lopez’s Yerma

by Shari Caplan
31 July 2019
The Necessity of a New Green Federal Theatre Project
Essay

The Necessity of a New Green Federal Theatre Project

by Karen Malpede
30 July 2019
Howlround Theatre Commons
From the World Theatre Map
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.

performer gives a speech in front of framed pictures
Hope in the Shadows
Essay

Hope in the Shadows

Heidi Schreck’s What the Constitution Means to Me

29 November 2018

Jenifer Schmidt examines Heidi Schreck’s new solo play that speaks to women’s political, cultural, and social history in the United States.

two women sitting on a couch
Still Here, Still Enraged
Essay

Still Here, Still Enraged

A Manifesto

15 November 2018

Joanna Lugo and Leah Harris use Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions as a framework to speak out about gender inequalities they've notice in the theatre community, and call on the larger theatre community to fight for gender parity. 

An actor in period costume holds up a fist on stage
Four Hundred Years of #MeToo in the Anthropologists’ Artemisia’s Intent
Essay

Four Hundred Years of #MeToo in the Anthropologists’ Artemisia’s Intent

12 November 2018

Emily White takes a deeper look at the parallels between artist Artemisia Gentileschi’s sexual assault trial from the 1600s and the trial testimonies of today, all of which is explored in the show Artemisia’s Intent.

Roadside Theater's Living Library
Essay

Roadside Theater's Living Library

29 October 2018

David Dower sits down with Roadside Theater’s Dudley Cocke and Amy Brooks to talk about Appalachian theatre, the power of culture to foster positive social change, how we understand our shared history, and more.

What If
Essay

What If

The JUBILEE’s Vision of Unity and Action

24 October 2018

Rachel Grossman and Kirk Lynn announce the JUBILEE, a year-long nationwide festival in 2020/20201 that asks companies to commit to producing a season of work by artists who have been traditionally excluded from the American theatre.

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.

A B!RTH Project
Video

A B!RTH Project

Wellcome Collection in London

Thursday 4 October 2018
London, England

B!RTH International presents B!RTH livestreaming on the global, commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 4 October.

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. 

Panel Discussions around the Sanctuary Movement
Video

Panel Discussions around the Sanctuary Movement

Borderlands Theater in Tucson

Sunday 9 September - Thursday 20 September 2018
AZ, United States

Borderlands Theater in Tucson, Arizona presented a series of panel discussions around their production of Sanctuary by Milta Ortiz, based on real people and events Sanctuary chronicles the Tucson birth of the 1980’s Sanctuary Movement, livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv from Sunday 9 September to Thursday 20 September.

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.

Decolonizing Systems/Our Theatre Ecology
Video

Decolonizing Systems/Our Theatre Ecology

Friday 1 June 2018
Online

This call was a space to gather together and ask questions about the impact of colonization on our current theatre systems and how we can empower interconnected ecologies to break down divisive hierarchies in the work that we do. Livestreamed on howlround.tv and on Facebook on Friday 1 June 2018 at 3 p.m. EDT - 4:30 p.m. EDT (Toronto/New York) / 12 p.m. PDT - 1:30 p.m. PDT (Vancouver/Los Angeles) / 8 p.m. BST - 9:30 p.m. BST (London, UTC +1).

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.