Social Justice & Political Theatre

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

The Latest

Performing Gitanidad (Romaniness) On Stage
Essay

Performing Gitanidad (Romaniness) On Stage

by Miguel Ángel Vargas
14 March 2019
The Revolution is Here and Now
Essay

The Revolution is Here and Now

The Revolution is Roma, Queer, and Feminist

by Arman Heljic
12 March 2019
The Other Role
Essay

The Other Role

On the Representation of Roma on the Hungarian Stage

by katarzyna pabijanek
11 March 2019
Howlround Theatre Commons
From the World Theatre Map
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. 

Being Radical or Nothing! / La radicalité sinon rien !
Essay

Being Radical or Nothing! / La radicalité sinon rien !

21 November 2017

Sylvia Botella interviews Belgium-based theatre historian Olivier Neveux about his thoughts on populism, decomocratizing access to culture, and the political responsibility of the artist. / 

Sylvia Botella interview l’historien de théâtre belge à propos de ses pensées sur le populisme,

la démocratisation de l'accès à la culture et la responsabilité politique de l'artiste.

Are We On Stage to Reflect the Audience or Create It? / Est-ce qu’on est sur scène pour refléter un public, ou le constituer ?
Essay

Are We On Stage to Reflect the Audience or Create It? / Est-ce qu’on est sur scène pour refléter un public, ou le constituer ?

21 November 2017

Sylvia Botella interviews sociologist Éric Fassin about his views on the connection between sociology, the performing arts, and politics in the age of populism.

The Artist as Agent for Change
Essay

The Artist as Agent for Change

16 November 2017

Brussels-based choreographer, curator, and writer Michiel Vandevelde argues that artists need to reclaim a place of power in the arts sector.

When the Playwright Has an Agenda
Essay

When the Playwright Has an Agenda

2 November 2017

Jonathan Mandell takes on two recent plays based on real events, considering productions of Ferguson and The Siege.

My Gender is Hot Fire
Essay

My Gender is Hot Fire

The Birth of the Non-Binary Monologues Project

30 October 2017

K. Woodzick talks about creating The Non-Binary Monologues Project, and the need for more resources for non-binary theatremakers.

The Art of Listening Is Political
Essay

The Art of Listening Is Political

27 October 2017

In the fifth installment of this series, Brendan McCall reflects on the work of Norwegian American vocalist Kristin Norderval, and how her art transforms listening into a political act.

Sabine Women, Satire, and What Is Truly “Daring?”
Essay

Sabine Women, Satire, and What Is Truly “Daring?”

24 October 2017

Is sexual assault a daring subject for satire? Cassidy Dawn Graves considers Michael Yates Crowley’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias and how satire may be the perfect tone to portray the empowerment of the disempowered.

Theatre History Podcast #47
Podcast

Theatre History Podcast #47

Translating An Enemy of the People with Dr. Paul Walsh

23 October 2017

Dr. Paul Walsh of the Yale School of Drama joins us to discuss his work translating Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People for the opening production of the Yale Repertory Theatre's 52nd season.

Business per Usual
Essay

Business per Usual

Enterprise

22 October 2017

Enterprise is a satire of American business-speak that is also a critique of capitalism.

Welcome to the Catalan Republic
Essay

Welcome to the Catalan Republic

Street Theatre and Protests in Barcelona / Teatro Callejero y Protestas en Barcelona

18 October 2017

Alícia Hernàndez Grande writes about the theatrical street protests that have been staged since 2012 around the Catalonia independence referendum vote, including this year’s vote on October 1. / Alícia Hernàndez Grande escribe sobre las protestas teatrales que se han presentado en la calle desde el 2012 sobre el voto del referendum de la independencia de Catalonya, incluyendo la votación del 1 de octubre de este año.

After/Life Tells Untold Stories of the '67 Detroit Rebellion
Essay

After/Life Tells Untold Stories of the '67 Detroit Rebellion

16 October 2017

Playwright Lisa Biggs and director Kristin Horton discuss the process of developing After/Life, a new play about the 1967 Rebellion in Detroit, Michigan with Detroit community members.