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
The Trump Effect
Essay

The Trump Effect

1 December 2016

Jonathan Mandell asks how perceptions of theatre have changed since November 8 and if and how theatre itself will change as a result of the new regime.

Radical Theatre in Poland
Essay

Radical Theatre in Poland

27 November 2016

Brian Hashimoto travels to Poland and reports on the 2016 Malta Festival.

Party Planning
Essay

Party Planning

The Jubilee Answers Questions, Gives Advice, and Asks for Help

14 November 2016

One year into organizing, the Committee of the Jubilee reports out on progress, answers common questions, and re-extends an invitation to the American Theatre to join the year-long nationwide festival of 2020.

Death and Disenfranchisement
Essay

Death and Disenfranchisement

Anna Deavere Smith’s Notes from the Field

8 November 2016

Jonathan Mandell reviews Anna Deavere Smith’s latest solo performance piece, which presents seventeen real-life characters to establish a connection between school failure, the prison system, and police killings.

Seeking Dialogue and Change
Essay

Seeking Dialogue and Change

Objectively/Reasonable Explores the Shooting of Tamir Rice

4 November 2016

Yuko Kurahashi on Playwrights Local’s documentary show about the Tamir Rice shooting at the Creative Space at Waterloo Arts in Cleveland, Ohio.

Theatre History Podcast # 10
Podcast

Theatre History Podcast # 10

Sizwe Banzi Is Dead and the Legacy of Anti-Apartheid Theatre

24 October 2016

Michael Lueger talks with Dr. Gibson Cima of Georgetown University about Sizwe Banzi Is Dead, it’s collaborators, and it’s lasting impact on South African political theatre.

Six Hundred and Ninety-Two Million
Essay

Six Hundred and Ninety-Two Million

On Art, Ethics, and Activism

22 October 2016

Theatre practitioner Caridad Svich on art and activism and After Orlando.

Theatre History Podcast # 9
Podcast

Theatre History Podcast # 9

Theatre of Cruelty on Michigan Avenue: Dr. Susanne Shawyer on Street Theatre and 1968

17 October 2016

Michael Lueger talks with Dr. Susanne Shawyer of Elon University about the Democratic National Convention of 1968 and Theatre of Cruelty.

Dance the Vote
Essay

Dance the Vote

On Rapid Response, Performance, the Election, and Civic Engagement

11 October 2016

Artistic Director Joan Lipkin discusses the inspiration and process for “Dance the Vote,” a voting registration campaign in St. Louis, Missouri that included performances by local artists. 

Politics and Theatre
Essay

Politics and Theatre

Does Each Serve the Other? Presidential Candidates on Stage

6 October 2016

Jonathan Mandell looks at some recent plays that explore this wackiest of election seasons in novel ways, and asks: Is mockery proper...or even possible?

It Can Happen Here
Essay

It Can Happen Here

5 October 2016

David Dower talks with Tony Taccone about his adaptation of It Can’t Happen Here at Berkeley Rep, and what it means for an institution to program a new work that speaks directly to our present moment.

Theatre History Podcast # 7
Podcast

Theatre History Podcast # 7

Getting (Politically) Radical with Amy Brady

3 October 2016

Michael Lueger kicks off a month of interviews about political theatre by talking with Amy Brady about the Federal Theatre Project.

Intermittence
Essay

Intermittence

A Circuit of Theatrical Desires

30 September 2016

Writer and performer Oscar Lozano reports on the artistic and labor movement in France among theatre professionals and in doing so considers the public theatre, social performance, and the role of intermittents (contract and short-term creative professionals) in the global Occupy protests.

Speedo Activism
Essay

Speedo Activism

Intimacy and the Aesthetics of Resistance

26 September 2016

Priscilla Page on Ricardo Gamboa and Sean James William Parris’ Space Age at Free Street Theater in Chicago, Illinois.

After Orlando
Essay

After Orlando

An International Theatre Action

23 September 2016

Blair Baker, Zac Kline, and Caridad Svich discuss how they decided to take action and mobilize artists to create theatre pieces after the Pulse Nightclub shooting.

Learning to Listen
Essay

Learning to Listen

“Political Correctness” and the Question of Socially Responsible Theatre

13 September 2016

Playwright Zoe Kamil writes about casting a play of hers, and the difficult conversations that arose because she didn’t specify the race of certain characters.

Roe and the American Revolutions Cycle at OSF
Essay

Roe and the American Revolutions Cycle at OSF

Dramatic, Present, and Human

10 September 2016

In this cultural moment of divisiveness, how is one of the true stories of abortion theatricalized? Holly Derr considers Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s co-production of Roe by Lisa Loomer. 

Illuminated Histories and Imagined Futures
Essay

Illuminated Histories and Imagined Futures

The 2016 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa

9 September 2016

Paul Adolphsen on the 2016 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa.

Picture from Pryor Truth.
Black Fringe
Essay

Black Fringe

1 September 2016

Jonathan Mandell on the wealth of offerings of African-American theatre at the twentieth New York International Fringe Festival. 

Afro-Latin@ Theatre Series
Essay

Afro-Latin@ Theatre Series

Actor and Activist Gustavo Melo Cerqueira

15 August 2016

In this installment, Jelisa Jay Robinson profiles Gustavo Melo Cerqueira, a Brazilian arts activist based in Austin, Texas.

Broadway for Black Lives Matter…and Off-Off Broadway Too
Essay

Broadway for Black Lives Matter…and Off-Off Broadway Too

4 August 2016

Jonathan Mandell on “Broadway for Black Lives Matters,” the Theatre of the Oppressed NYC production of Apprehension, and the role of theatre in protest and human rights movements.

Enter Leviathan
Essay

Enter Leviathan

Staging Moby Dick in the Deep South

20 July 2016

Corey Bradberry’s theme and production considerations for staging Moby Dick for a contemporary audience in the deep South.

Runaways by Elizabeth Swados Four Decades Later
Essay

Runaways by Elizabeth Swados Four Decades Later

7 July 2016

Jonathan Mandell looks at the new production of Runaways, thirty-eight years after the first, and asks: Should a work of theatre allow us to escape from, or force us to engage in, the world?

Unaccompanied Minors Seek Shelter
Essay

Unaccompanied Minors Seek Shelter

28 June 2016

Susan J. Terrio reflects on Marissa Chibas Preston’s new play, Shelter, about journey of unaccompanied minors from Mexico to the US, directed by Martin Acosta.

The Art of Change
Essay

The Art of Change

REMAP Bay Area and Future Aesthetics

18 June 2016

Laura Brueckner reports on the recent Arts in a Changing America’s REMAP Bay Area convening.