Social Justice & Political Theatre

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

The Latest

Livestreaming Ashtar Theatre’s Oranges and Stones
Video

Livestreaming Ashtar Theatre’s Oranges and Stones

A play without words that portrays the reality of persecution in Palestine, and travels in time to seventy years of occupation and settlement.

Monday 31 August 2020
International
Livestreaming Arts + Activism: Jeannette and Making Political Musical Theatre
Video

Livestreaming Arts + Activism: Jeannette and Making Political Musical Theatre

with Ari Afsar, Erin Ortman, Martha Nichols, Jen Bender, and Regina Victor

Thursday 6 August 2020
United States
Participatory Research Results and Further Questions
Essay

Participatory Research Results and Further Questions

Expanding Where, Why, How, and With Whom Artists Make Work

by Jan Cohen-Cruz
20 July 2020
Howlround Theatre Commons
From the World Theatre Map
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.

Climate Change Theatre Action Still Waving
Video

Climate Change Theatre Action Still Waving

Monday 23 October / Sunday 22 October
Palmerston North, New Zealand

Massey University presented the Climate Change Theatre Action event Still Waving—a series of readings and performances—livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer produced howlround.tv network on Monday 23 October at 2 p.m. NZDT (Wellington, UTC +13) / Monday, October 23 at 12 p.m. AEDT (Sydney, UTC +11) / Monday, October 23 at 9 a.m. SGT (Singapore UTC +8) / Monday, October 23 at 2 a.m. BST (London, UTC+1) / Monday, October 23 at 01:00 UTC / Sunday, October 22 at 9:00 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / Sunday, October 22 at 6 p.m. PDT (Los Angeles, UTC -7).

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.

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.