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
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.

BITEF and Cultural Diplomacy: Theatre Festivals and Geopolitics
Video

BITEF and Cultural Diplomacy: Theatre Festivals and Geopolitics

Saturday 1 October - Sunday 2 October 2016
Belgrade, Serbia

The Conference BITEF and Cultural Diplomacy: Theatre Festivals and Geopolitics livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv Saturday 1 October and Sunday 2 October from Belgrade, Serbia. In Twitter, follow @howlroundtv@Biteffestival, and use #howlround#bitef. The conference is a collaborative project of the BITEF Festival and UNESCO Chair in Cultural Policy and Management of the University of Arts in Belgrade, Serbia.

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.

Art & Survival 2016 at Double Edge Theatre
Video

Art & Survival 2016 at Double Edge Theatre

Saturday 6 August to Sunday 7 August 2017
Ashfield, MA, United States

Double Edge Theatre in rural Ashfield, Massachusetts presented the gathering Art & Survival 2016 livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv Saturday 6 August to Sunday 7 August. Share your thoughts with #ArtandSurvival16​ in Twitter @doubleedgethtrFacebook, and Instagram @doubleedgetheatre.

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.

Urban Bush Women’s 2016 Summer Leadership Institute Culminating Performance at LIU Kumble Theater
Video

Urban Bush Women’s 2016 Summer Leadership Institute Culminating Performance at LIU Kumble Theater

Saturday 30 July 2016
Brooklyn, NY, United States

Urban Bush Women presented the 2016 Summer Leadership Institute Culminating Performance addressing the theme You, Me, We: Understanding Internalized Racial Oppression and How it Manifests in Our Artistic Community livestreamed from Kumble Theater at LIU Brooklyn on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Saturday 30 July at 5 p.m. EDT (New York) / 4 p.m. CDT (Chicago) / 2 p.m. PDT (Los Angeles), and then again at 7:30 p.m. EDT (New York) / 6:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago) / 4:30 p.m. (Los Angeles). In Twitter, share with #howlround

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 2016 TCG National Conference: Theatre Nation
Video

The 2016 TCG National Conference: Theatre Nation

Thursday 23 June to Saturday 25 June 2016
Washington, D.C., United States

Theatre Communications Group presented the 2016 TCG National Conference: Theatre Nation (ASL-interpreted) livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv Thursday 23 June to Saturday 25 June. Share your thoughts and media with hashtags #TCG16 and #howlround in all social media platforms. Follow @TCG and @HowlRoundTV in Twitter for updates.

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.

Thunder in Blunderland
Essay

Thunder in Blunderland

10 June 2016

Rob Orchard writes about Robert Brustein’s career of writing political theatre, and shares an audio recording of a new satirical skit.

The Edwin Booth Award: Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir
Video

The Edwin Booth Award: Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir

Monday 9 May 2016
New York, NY, United States

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center in New York City presented Reverend Billy & The Stop Shopping Choir—the winner of this year’s Edwin Booth Award—livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Monday 9 May at 3:30 p.m. PDT (Los Angeles) / 5:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago) / 6:30 p.m. EDT (New York). On Twitter use #HowlRound.

A New Hope for Wayang Kulit
Essay

A New Hope for Wayang Kulit

Peperangan Bintang Re-Awakens Tradition

9 May 2016

Jenna Gerdsen on a reinvention of wayang kulit—the ancient Southeast Asian puppet theatre form.

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.