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
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.

The Story Behind Puppets in Kenya
Essay

The Story Behind Puppets in Kenya

9 April 2017

Puppeteer Fedelis Kyalo shares his puppet background, and discusses how puppetry intersects with popular entertainment and street protests in Kenya.

Empathy on Stage
Essay

Empathy on Stage

The Collector and Anonymous in Dublin

8 April 2017

Laura Marriott explores Daniel Wade’s The Collector and Mark Richardson’s Anonymous, two recent productions in Dublin that explore contemporary social issues.

Steely Lies The Heart
Essay

Steely Lies The Heart

Musings on Playwriting in the Age of Trump

1 April 2017

Kirsten Greenidge reflects on the playwright's relationship to this unruly moment of cultural shift and what happens to one’s work when the world around us is changing so rapidly?  

The I Told You Show
Essay

The I Told You Show

Anthony Atamanuik’s Take on Trump, The Election, and Where It All Went Wrong

31 March 2017

Allison Raynor interviews Anthony Atamanuik, a Donald Trump impersonator who critiques both the president and audiences in his latest solo piece.

We Are the Heroes We Need
Essay

We Are the Heroes We Need

Squeaky Fromme, Assassins, and the Call for Arts Activism

28 March 2017

Kitty Drexel writes about Stephen Sondheim's Assassins , and the need for artists to defend natinoal arts funding.

Conversation Claudia Rankine: On Whiteness
Video

Conversation Claudia Rankine: On Whiteness

Friday 24 March 2017
Boston, MA, United States

ArtsEmerson in Boston presented the conversation Claudia Rankine: On Whiteness livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv Friday 24 March at 3:00 p.m. PDT (Los Angeles) / 6:00 p.m. EDT (New York) / 22:00 GMT-UTC (London) / 23:00 CET (Berlin). On Twitter, follow @ArtsEmerson and #howlround

Theatre After 11/9
Essay

Theatre After 11/9

What Now?

23 March 2017

Playwright Charles Gershman talks with seven fellow theatre practitioners about the impact of the 2016 presidential election on their work and view of theatre.

Truthful Intelligence
Essay

Truthful Intelligence

A Play about Power and Politics

23 February 2017

Holly Derr writes about Jacqueline E. Lawton’s new play at Arena Stage, part of their Power Plays commissioning initiative.

Subpoetics International
Essay

Subpoetics International

A Boat Constructed While on Water

22 February 2017

Seth Baumrin, artistic director of Subpoetics International, discusses the history, process, and journey of a company working with the stories of refugees and displaced peoples to find their way.

It Happened Here
Essay

It Happened Here

Looking Back on the Revivals of Sinclair Lewis’s Play During the Election of 2016

19 February 2017

Paul Gagliardi, a scholar of the Federal Theatre Project, considers recent productions of It Can’t Happen Here and why the play is resonating with both directors and audiences today.

Radical Empathy is the Theatre Artist’s New Job
Essay

Radical Empathy is the Theatre Artist’s New Job

8 February 2017

Tiffany Antone makes a case for why we have to reconsider how/why we engage audiences, and why it is now every artist’s job to be out on the frontlines, cultivating radical empathy and civil discourse.

Theatre after Obama (or with Trump)
Essay

Theatre after Obama (or with Trump)

5 February 2017

Harvey Young, chair of Northwestern University’s theatre department, looks at how American theatre has responded to a rise in conservativism to forecast not only what may appear on the horizon but also to anticipate a renewed attention to political/activist theatre following the 2016 election.

Staging a Conflict
Essay

Staging a Conflict

Israel, Palestine, and the American Theatre

5 February 2017

Jamil Khoury writes about curating a series of six staged readings about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that power of theatre to speak to controversial issues.

When Family Inspires Political Protest Art
Essay

When Family Inspires Political Protest Art

4 February 2017

Bryn Boice writes about how a rift with her father led her to begin work on a devised piece called I, Snowflake.

China on Stage
Essay

China on Stage

3 February 2017

Jonathan Mandell digs into three recent productions in New York City—Made in ChinaConfucius, and Caught—that explore US-China relations.

Absurd is “the new Normal” in 2017
Essay

Absurd is “the new Normal” in 2017

Interview with Tina Brock, artistic director of IRC, Philadelphia’s only surreal theatre

3 February 2017

Henrik Eger interviews Tina Brock about how her company is responding to the current political climate in the US, and what she feels that absurdist theatre has to offer.

Philoctetes in Jerusalem
Essay

Philoctetes in Jerusalem

The Cost of Growing Up a Soldier

31 January 2017

Abraham Benson-Goldberg discusses Khan Theatre’s production of Philoctetes, examining the intersections of young soldiers, heroism, war, and politics.

Absurdist Theatre and Resistance
Essay

Absurdist Theatre and Resistance

27 January 2017

Edward Einhorn discusses the relevance of absurdist theatre.

Calling All Bad Hombres and Nasty Women for a Nation-wide Day of Performance Protest
Essay

Calling All Bad Hombres and Nasty Women for a Nation-wide Day of Performance Protest

20 January 2017

Sara Warner interviews performance artists Holly Hughes and Lois Weaver and social media coordinator Mary Jo Watts about their initiative Not My Presidents’ Day.

Staged Resistance
Essay

Staged Resistance

19 January 2017

On the eve of the inauguration of Donald J. Trump, Jonathan Mandell looks at how the political resistance of theatre artists is playing out on and off stage in New York.

The 28th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Celebration
Video

The 28th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Celebration

Monday 16 January 2017
Ashland, OR, United States

Celebrate with our community! Ashland, Oregon’s 28th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Celebration features music, spoken word, and dance livestreamed on the global, commons-based HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv Monday 16 January at 12 p.m. PST–1:30 p.m. PST (Los Angeles) / 2 p.m. CST–3:30 p.m. CST (Chicago) / 3 p.m. EST–4:30 p.m. EST (New York).

What Comes Next?
Essay

What Comes Next?

Theatre and Posttraumatic Growth After the 2016 Election

4 January 2017

Emily White writes about how her research on posttraumatic growth informs her belief that theatre can be an important tool to help America unite and heal.