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
Undocumented Stories Have Always Mattered / Las Historias Sobre Los Indocumentados Siempre Han Importado
Essay

Undocumented Stories Have Always Mattered / Las Historias Sobre Los Indocumentados Siempre Han Importado

15 October 2017

A conversation between Alex Alpharaoh, David Lozano, and Karen Zacarías about the inspiration for and impact of their works that center the stories of people who are undocumented.

A Chicana Heroine Redirects El Movimiento
Essay

A Chicana Heroine Redirects El Movimiento

12 October 2017

Marci McMahon reflects on how Diane Rodriguez’s The Sweetheart Deal breaks gendered stereotypes about the Chicano Movement of the 1960s and ’70s. 

A Brazilian Coriolanus in the Age of CEO-Politician Heroes
Essay

A Brazilian Coriolanus in the Age of CEO-Politician Heroes

10 October 2017

What is the significance of staging Coriolanus in Sao Paulo where the new mayor is a businessman who was the host of two seasons of the Brazilian version of TV show The Apprentice?

Announcing the HowlRound Challenge Convenings
Essay

Announcing the HowlRound Challenge Convenings

4 October 2017

HowlRound announces the four selected convening proposals for the HowlRound Challenge, a new initiative to incubate ideas and seed action to make a better theatre and a better world.

The Eurydice Project in Dublin and the Trapped Woman
Essay

The Eurydice Project in Dublin and the Trapped Woman

26 September 2017

Laura Marriott considers The Eurydice Project in Dublin in the context of Ireland’s Repeal the Eighth movement.

F*ck the System (And the Horse It Rode In On)
Essay

F*ck the System (And the Horse It Rode In On)

17 September 2017

Chantal Bilodeau kicks off this week's series on Theatre in the Age of Climate Change, and argues that we as a theatre community need to recognize when our practices and systems are detrimental to the earth and other people, and strive to change them.

Theatre History Podcast #46
Podcast

Theatre History Podcast #46

Reimagining Shakespeare’s Legacy with Madeline Sayet

14 September 2017

Madeline Sayet joins us to talk about how she's producing Shakespeare's work with Native American artists to place them in a new, more diverse context.

Dramatizing Dystopia
Essay

Dramatizing Dystopia

7 September 2017

Jonathan Mandell runs down the recent past and present dramatization of dystopian novels on stage, including 1984, and asks whether what’s on stage is reflected in the political era that we are in now.

A Game at Chess
Essay

A Game at Chess

The Most Controversial Play You’ve Never Heard Of

10 August 2017

Following the controversy around the Public’s Shakespeare in the Park Julius Caesar production, Nora Williams provides a parallel story about a play that was censored and caused the Globe to be shut down in 1624 because it depicted living monarchs unfavorably.

Why Boycott a Play
Essay

Why Boycott a Play

31 July 2017

MJ Kaufman writes about the decision not to see To the End of the Land ​at Lincoln Center. 

How Can You Turn Awareness into Action?
Essay

How Can You Turn Awareness into Action?

A Roadmap Toward Economic Justice for Theatre Folk

29 June 2017

Matthew Clinton Sekellick discusses moving beyond awareness with action, advocating for theatre artists and administrators to join forces with existing social justice movements.

Alive from Palestine
Essay

Alive from Palestine

Other Places

13 June 2017

Gary English looks at the production Other Places by the Palestinian theatre group Al Khashabi Ensemble.

Current Events as a Backdrop in Hands Up
Essay

Current Events as a Backdrop in Hands Up

7 Playwrights, 7 Testaments

8 June 2017

Lydia K. Valentine looks at Hands Up, a series of monologues that address the killing of unarmed black men by police.

Politics, Propaganda, and Aesthetics
Essay

Politics, Propaganda, and Aesthetics

Sorting through Building the Wall

4 June 2017

Jonathan Mandell compares the countrywide reaction to the anti-Trump play Building the Wall with its reception in New York, where it's closing a month early.

Ugly Lies the Bone
Essay

Ugly Lies the Bone

Virtual Reality and the Trump Effect

31 May 2017

Director and dramaturg Linda Lombardi discusses Lindsey Ferrentino’s Ugly Lies the Bone, and examines how changes to our political climate effect audience reaction.

Ethnodrama and Her Opponent
Essay

Ethnodrama and Her Opponent

 The Drama in the Data

26 May 2017

Holly L. Derr looks at ethnodrama and Her Opponent, a restaging of excerpts of the 2016 presidential debates with gender-reversed casting.

Theatre as Resistance
Essay

Theatre as Resistance

12 May 2017

Robert Stanton for #FairWageOnstage considers the recent success of negotiations for salary increases for Off-Broadway actors and how theatre can support and lead the resistance to oppressive political administrations.

To Inflame the Civic Temper
Essay

To Inflame the Civic Temper

7 May 2017

Bari Hochwald of the Global Theatre Project discusses the need for artist activists today to “inflame the civic temper” and address the refugee crisis.

Imagining Theatre as a Town Hall Meeting
Essay

Imagining Theatre as a Town Hall Meeting

2 May 2017

Director Alex Hare discusses using a town hall format for Chains Don’t Rattle Themselves, a song cycle performance about incarceration and how it affects individuals and their families.

The “Us” of Town Hall
Essay

The “Us” of Town Hall

26 April 2017

Katie Pearl talks with Caridad Svich, a maker of work for live audiences, about the breath of theatre, the us in the room, and her new script Town Hall.

Fueled by Fury
Essay

Fueled by Fury

Finding the Language to Fix Us

22 April 2017

Playwright Tira Palmquist and dramaturg Heather Helinsky discuss Two Degrees, a play about climate change and communication.

Participatory Performance, Activism, and the Limits of Change
Essay

Participatory Performance, Activism, and the Limits of Change

20 April 2017

Professor of Theatre Kenn Watt discusses environmental participatory performance.

Mary Speaks
Essay

Mary Speaks

From the Perspective of Black Mothers

20 April 2017

Cherry Lou Sy looks at the one-woman show Mary Speaks written and performed by Angela Polite, about using Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a vehicle to explore black grief.

The Protest Plays Project
Essay

The Protest Plays Project

Putting Plays to Work in the Resistance

19 April 2017

Tiffany Antone announces her new initiative: the Protest Plays Project.

We Are the Climate
Essay

We Are the Climate

16 April 2017

In this first installment, Playwright Katie Pearl explores the implications of climate change, storytelling, and intersectionality in the theatre community in relation to Donald Trump’s administration.