Social Justice & Political Theatre

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

The Latest

Creating a Feminist Punch and Judy Show
Essay

Creating a Feminist Punch and Judy Show

by Roxanna Myhrum
16 June 2019
Narrative Sharing and Narrative Shifting with Digital Technology
Essay

Narrative Sharing and Narrative Shifting with Digital Technology

by Complex Movements
10 June 2019
The Search for Truth in Putin’s Russia
Essay

The Search for Truth in Putin’s Russia

How Teatr.doc’s “Civil Theatre” Is Exposing Injustice

by verity healey
4 June 2019
Howlround Theatre Commons
From the World Theatre Map
DC’s Ambassador Theater Takes on Dario Fo’s They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay!
Essay

DC’s Ambassador Theater Takes on Dario Fo’s They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay!

3 May 2016

Patricia Davis on Ambassador Theater’s production of They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay! by Dario Fo in Washington, DC.

Meta
Essay

Meta

A Quiet Theatrical Revolution

14 April 2016

verity healey on Cardboard Citizens’ Meta in London, England, and theatre for social change. 

Could A Play Stop A Demagogue? Theatre and Electoral Politics
Essay

Could A Play Stop A Demagogue? Theatre and Electoral Politics

7 April 2016

Have jokey depictions of elections on stage and screen helped cause a joke of a real-life presidential campaign?  Jonathan Mandell visits two experimental theatre projects that are tackling this year’s presidential election in serious and intriguing ways.

Making Theatre in the Season of Trump
Essay

Making Theatre in the Season of Trump

3 April 2016

Marshall Botvinick contemplates how the theatre community can respond to Donald Trump’s political rise.

What is the Role of the Artist/Arts Presenter in a Community in Crisis?
Essay

What is the Role of the Artist/Arts Presenter in a Community in Crisis?

26 March 2016

Paul S. Flores traces the path to creating and touring his play PLACAS through community engagment with acknowedgment and palabra, and offers suggestions to supporting peace within extremely marginalized communities in conflict when making theater.

Another Word for Beauty
Essay

Another Word for Beauty

Finding Freedom in The Moment

10 March 2016

David Dudley on The Goodman Theatre production of José Rivera’s Another Word for Beauty, directed by Steve Cosson in Chicago, Illinois.

In Praise of The Civilians at Fifteen
Essay

In Praise of The Civilians at Fifteen

3 March 2016

Jonathan Mandell writes about the work of The Civilians, which he says "may be the most vibrant socially conscious, avant-garde, investigative theatre company in the country."

From Gaza, with Love
Essay

From Gaza, with Love

25 February 2016

Patricia Davis on Mosaic Theatre's US premiere in Washington, D.C. of I Shall Not Hate, based on the life of Palestinian doctor Izzeldin Abuelaish.

Ay, Carmela! Divided Politics for the Ages
Essay

Ay, Carmela! Divided Politics for the Ages

18 February 2016

Carlos Morton on the recent Los Angeles production of José Sanchis Sinisterra’s Ay Carmela

The Crucible Returns and We’re Still Pointing Fingers
Essay

The Crucible Returns and We’re Still Pointing Fingers

12 February 2016

Billy McEntee traces the social history connected to Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, which premiered on Broadway in 1953 during the height of McCarthyism.

BODY & SOLD
Essay

BODY & SOLD

Playwright Deborah Lake Fortson Addresses the Teenage Sex Trafficking Crisis

5 February 2016

Charlotte Meehan and Adara Meyers sit down with playwrights Deborah Lake Fortson and Amy Merrill, director Robbie McCauley, and law enforcement and community stakeholders to talk about youth sex trafficking and The BODY & SOLD Project.

Puppets and Politics in South Africa
Essay

Puppets and Politics in South Africa

29 January 2016

Josh Williams discusses the Barrydale Reconciliation Day Puppet Parade and its socio-political impact in contemporary South Africa.

Lynn Nottage Talks Research, Collaboration, and the Fracturing of America
Essay

Lynn Nottage Talks Research, Collaboration, and the Fracturing of America

28 January 2016

Holly Derr speaks with Lynn Nottage about her new play Sweat, a co-commission of Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Arena Stage, currently playing in Washington, DC.

Power vs. Truth in Belarus Free Theatre’s Being Harold Pinter
Essay

Power vs. Truth in Belarus Free Theatre’s Being Harold Pinter

21 January 2016

verity healey reviews Belarus Free Theatre’s Being Harold Pinter at the Young Vic in London, England.

Theatre and Social Justice
Essay

Theatre and Social Justice

Everything Has to Come Out of Session

16 January 2016

Martha Steketee talks with Associate Artistic Director Estelle Parsons about a public series on social justice that has been created out of Actors Studio session work.

Staging the Anti-Immigrant Hysteria
Essay

Staging the Anti-Immigrant Hysteria

20 December 2015

José Torres-Tama writes about the development of Aliens, Immigrants & Other Evildoers, a sci-fi Latino noir performance about the Latino immigration experience.

Invisible Thread
Essay

Invisible Thread

Turning Well-Meaning into Well-Done

3 December 2015

Jonathan Mandell reviews the Second Stage production of Invisible Thread, a musical based on the real-life experience of theatre artists Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews creating a charity in Uganda.

My “One Thing”
Essay

My “One Thing”

Achieving Gender Parity through Legislation

3 December 2015

Citizen-artist Yvette Heyliger discusses the aftermath of her petition and advocates a call to action for gender parity legislation.

Steel Hammer
Essay

Steel Hammer

A Living Cubist Portrait of John Henry

1 December 2015

David Dudley reflects on Steel Hammer and the John Henry myth, at the Krannert Center in Urbana, Illinois.

Complex Movements’ Beware of the Dandelions
Essay

Complex Movements’ Beware of the Dandelions

19 November 2015

Jeff Chang on Detroit-based Complex Movements’ Beware of the Dandelions, a narrative, concert, visual installation, architectural piece, and convening space to distribute revolutionary ideas and activate creative ecosystems and economies of change. 

Marcus Gardley on An Issue of Blood and The Gospel of Lovingkindness
Essay

Marcus Gardley on An Issue of Blood and The Gospel of Lovingkindness

11 November 2015

Part interview, part photo essay, part play excerpts, Rebecca Stevens goes in-depth with playwright Marcus Gardley on his two recent productions at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago, Illinois. 

Black Lives Matter, Ferguson, and Troy Davis
Essay

Black Lives Matter, Ferguson, and Troy Davis

Writing about a Moving Target

6 November 2015

Playwright Lee Nowell talks about the development of Beyond Reasonable Doubt: The Troy Davis Project and speaks with playwrights Gabrielle Fulton and Phillip DePoy about creating work today that deals with race.

Establishing the Audience Contract
Essay

Establishing the Audience Contract

31 October 2015

In the second installment of his The Audience Position series, Damon Krometis describes the unwritten contract and relationship between actors and audience members.  

Equity in Theatre
Essay

Equity in Theatre

What exactly does it mean and what would it take to actually have it?

24 October 2015

Shellen Lubin summarizes the discussions and themes of the Equity in Theatre Symposium and International Summit on Gender Parity in Theatre, which took place in Toronto in April, 2015.

Every 28 Hours
Essay

Every 28 Hours

Creating a Performance for Ferguson

24 October 2015

Actor/playwright Joe Wilson, Jr. discusses his experience and the cultural climate in St. Louis during the Every 28 Hours Project workshops.