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
Welcome to Mississippi
Essay

Welcome to Mississippi

17 March 2015

Carlton Turner's address on the state of the arts in Mississipi from the Mississipi Performing Arts Summit, held February 15-16, 2015 in Jackson, MS. 

Dispatch from Tehran—33rd Annual Fadjr International Theater Festival, Part 2
Essay

Dispatch from Tehran—33rd Annual Fadjr International Theater Festival, Part 2

12 March 2015

Torange discusses productions she saw in Tehran that premiered outside the Festival, and the impact of the political and economic climate on making theatre in Iran.

Dispatch from Tehran—33rd Annual Fadjr International Theater Festival, Part 1
Essay

Dispatch from Tehran—33rd Annual Fadjr International Theater Festival, Part 1

10 March 2015

The 33rd Fadjr International Theater Festival, Iran’s most visible dramatic showcase, opened ran in Tehran  January 21-February 1, 2015. It featured eighty plays from Iran and eleven from Europe and the Middle East, and no representation from the United States.

Political Cabaret
Essay

Political Cabaret

Herbert Hoover’s Comeback in Leather

3 March 2015

Martha Steketee speaks with playwright Sean Cunningham about Here’s Hoover! The Historic Herbert Hoover 2014 Comeback Special, which recently concluded a brief run in New York City. Herbert Hoover’s return, replete with leather, works like gangbusters.

Andrew Jackson Is Not As Bad As You Think—He’s Far, Far Bloodier
Essay

Andrew Jackson Is Not As Bad As You Think—He’s Far, Far Bloodier

26 February 2015

Suzan Shown Harjo, a recent recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, discusses the prevalence of redface on American stages and how disrespect of Native identity extends to land and bodies.

The Indian(s) in the Attic—Divining a Message from August
Essay

The Indian(s) in the Attic—Divining a Message from August

Osage County

23 February 2015

Native voices week continues! August: Osage County’s Kimberly Guerrero explores her work on the show, and what lesson the American theatre can learn from it.

Native Voices On the American Stage
Essay

Native Voices On the American Stage

A Constitutional Crisis

22 February 2015

Playwright Mary Kathryn Nagle kicks off Native Voices Week, “Instead of Redface,” with a personal story about how she came to playwriting from law school and the imperative to tell Native stories.

How Do Transpeople Talk? Writing Characters Beyond a Gender Binary
Essay

How Do Transpeople Talk? Writing Characters Beyond a Gender Binary

20 February 2015

MJ Kaufman begins a new blog series, exploring questions of gender and parity in the world of performance. In this installment, he looks at how transpeople talk.

Kicking the Can Down the Road Towards Parity
Essay

Kicking the Can Down the Road Towards Parity

2 February 2015

Activist and artist Yvette Heyliger shares her petition for new legislation mandating women artists receive equitable funding from nonprofit arts organizations and institutions.

The Privilege of Privilege
Essay

The Privilege of Privilege

1 February 2015

David Copelin, self-identified member of the “cottontop demographic,” considers how his privilege might affect his artistic choices and his responsibility to that privilege.

Can A Play Explain The Muslim Diaspora? Nadia Parvez Manzoor’s Burq Off
Essay

Can A Play Explain The Muslim Diaspora? Nadia Parvez Manzoor’s Burq Off

13 January 2015

Some could argue that a play like Burq Off is not the right place to begin to understand the world of the Muslim Diaspora in Europe... But Manzoor herself provides some of that context, throwing statistics into her monologues almost as if her drama were a form of journalism.

Life After #Ferguson
Essay

Life After #Ferguson

Continue the Conversation

10 January 2015

Co-founders of St Lou Fringe Em Piro and Tara Daniels talk about how artists and institutions can continue the conversation started after #Ferguson, and how important it is to do so.

Art in a Complex World
Essay

Art in a Complex World

In Sweet Remembrance at Sweet Briar College

8 January 2015

Geoffrey Kershner, AD of the resident theatre company at Sweet Briar College, considers the complicated intersection of art and our racial history and the responsibility of the artist.

Trespass Theater
Essay

Trespass Theater

Jeff Stark on The Dreary Coast

18 December 2014

The Dreary Coast is a site-specific immersive work that took place in Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal, and used elements of Greek and Roman mythology, Dante’s Inferno, black metal music, and the canal’s actual history to journey its audience through one of the most polluted waterways in the United States.

Hands Up
Essay

Hands Up

Testaments From The Policed, part 3

13 December 2014

Keith Josef Adkins shares excerpts from Hands Up: 6 Playwrights, 6 Testaments, ten-minute monologues commissioned in response to the recent events in Ferguson and Staten Island.

Hands Up
Essay

Hands Up

Testaments From The Policed, part 2

12 December 2014

Keith Josef Adkins shares excerpts from Hands Up: 6 Playwrights, 6 Testaments, ten-minute monologues commissioned in response to the recent events in Ferguson and Staten Island.

Hands Up
Essay

Hands Up

Testaments From The Policed

11 December 2014

Keith Josef Adkins shares excerpts from Hands Up: 6 Playwrights, 6 Testaments, ten-minute monologues commissioned in response to the recent events in Ferguson and Staten Island.

Painting It Out
Essay

Painting It Out

The Living News Project’s SHELTER/CHICAGO

7 December 2014

Director Lisa DiFranza employs Living Newspapers—an 80-year-old theatrical form that combines theatre and journalism—to share compelling narratives about twenty-first century homelessness in Chicago. 

Photo from Forgotten Future: The Education Project.
Broken Public Schools and Community Dialogue at Collaboraction
Essay

Broken Public Schools and Community Dialogue at Collaboraction

4 December 2014

Based on interviews with local teachers and students about the current educational climate, Forgotten Futures creates space for discussion of the dysfunction plaguing Chicago Public Schools.

Photo for Sweet Dreams, Mr. Heroin.
Sweet Dreams, Mr. Heroin in Lewiston, Maine
Essay

Sweet Dreams, Mr. Heroin in Lewiston, Maine

28 November 2014

Amy Merrill writes about Sweet Dreams, Mr. Heroin and the value of presenting this piece at a substance abuse recovery center in Lewiston, Maine.

Photo from Native Son.
Trauma and Agency in Native Son at the Court Theatre
Essay

Trauma and Agency in Native Son at the Court Theatre

4 November 2014

At this historic moment in which it is still quite dangerous to be a black man in the United States, Native Son offers an important provocation. For all the world has changed since 1939, the production asks us to take a good hard look at what has not.

Beyond Lukashenko
Essay

Beyond Lukashenko

New Short Plays About Belarus

3 November 2014

In addition to new works by Belarusian playwrights, writers as far-flung as Europe and the United States, Australia and New Zealand, ended up making excellent contributions. The Belarusian Dream Theater project linked playwrights with more than a dozen independent presenting groups in Europe and North America, who donated their time and talents to assemble the collaborators necessary to present as many of the twenty-five new plays as each group wanted.

Encuentro 2014
Essay

Encuentro 2014

Moving Forward, Never Forgetting the Past

2 November 2014

Professor Jorge Huerta gives a short overview about the precedents that led to the historic and revolutionizing event, focusing on the growth of Chicano/a theatre festivals since 1970. 

Citizen Theatre
Essay

Citizen Theatre

Anne Hamburger on Basetrack Live

28 October 2014

Bertie Ferdman interviews Anne Hamburger about Basetrack Live, a multimedia theatre production inspired by Basetrack: One-Eight, a web project created in 2010 by photojournalists embedded with US Marines fighting in southern Afghanistan.

Cast of the Fully Functional Cabaret.
Just Say Yes
Essay

Just Say Yes

22 October 2014

Drawing a comparison between the manifestation of love and activism, Annie Danger offers compelling insight into queer art in theatre.