Social Justice & Political Theatre

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

The Latest

Livestreaming a Conversation: The Living Presence of Our History: Part III
Event

Livestreaming a Conversation: The Living Presence of Our History: Part III

Healing and reparations through the Land Back movement: a conversation on indigenous land tenure, stewardship, and access

Sunday 21 March 2021
United States
Using Critical Fabulation for History-Based Playwriting
Essay

Using Critical Fabulation for History-Based Playwriting

by Calley N. Anderson, Holly L. Derr
3 March 2021
GLOD: Political Theatre as Womxn's Right
Video

GLOD: Political Theatre as Womxn's Right

Performance followed by a panel discussion

Monday 8 March 2021
United Kingdom
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.

Theatre as Resistance
Essay

Theatre as Resistance

12 May 2017

Robert Stanton for #FairWageOnstage considers the recent success of negotiations for salary increases for Off-Broadway actors and how theatre can support and lead the resistance to oppressive political administrations.

To Inflame the Civic Temper
Essay

To Inflame the Civic Temper

7 May 2017

Bari Hochwald of the Global Theatre Project discusses the need for artist activists today to “inflame the civic temper” and address the refugee crisis.

Imagining Theatre as a Town Hall Meeting
Essay

Imagining Theatre as a Town Hall Meeting

2 May 2017

Director Alex Hare discusses using a town hall format for Chains Don’t Rattle Themselves, a song cycle performance about incarceration and how it affects individuals and their families.

The “Us” of Town Hall
Essay

The “Us” of Town Hall

26 April 2017

Katie Pearl talks with Caridad Svich, a maker of work for live audiences, about the breath of theatre, the us in the room, and her new script Town Hall.

Fueled by Fury
Essay

Fueled by Fury

Finding the Language to Fix Us

22 April 2017

Playwright Tira Palmquist and dramaturg Heather Helinsky discuss Two Degrees, a play about climate change and communication.

Performance of Temporary Residence
Video

Performance of Temporary Residence

Thursday 20 April 2017
Bucharest, Romania

MACAZ - Theatre Coop in Bucharest, Romania presented a performance of Temporary Residence livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv Thursday 20 April at 19:00 EEST (UTC+3 Bucharest) / 18:00 CEST (UTC+2 Berlin) / 5:00 p.m. BST (UTC+1 London) / 16:00 GMT (UTC+0) / 12:00 p.m. EDT (UTC-4 New York) / 9:00 a.m. PDT (UTC-7 Los Angeles). On Twitter, follow @howlroundtv for updates and use #howlround

Mary Speaks
Essay

Mary Speaks

From the Perspective of Black Mothers

20 April 2017

Cherry Lou Sy looks at the one-woman show Mary Speaks written and performed by Angela Polite, about using Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a vehicle to explore black grief.

Participatory Performance, Activism, and the Limits of Change
Essay

Participatory Performance, Activism, and the Limits of Change

20 April 2017

Professor of Theatre Kenn Watt discusses environmental participatory performance.

The Protest Plays Project
Essay

The Protest Plays Project

Putting Plays to Work in the Resistance

19 April 2017

Tiffany Antone announces her new initiative: the Protest Plays Project.

We Are the Climate
Essay

We Are the Climate

16 April 2017

In this first installment, Playwright Katie Pearl explores the implications of climate change, storytelling, and intersectionality in the theatre community in relation to Donald Trump’s administration.

The Story Behind Puppets in Kenya
Essay

The Story Behind Puppets in Kenya

9 April 2017

Puppeteer Fedelis Kyalo shares his puppet background, and discusses how puppetry intersects with popular entertainment and street protests in Kenya.

Empathy on Stage
Essay

Empathy on Stage

The Collector and Anonymous in Dublin

8 April 2017

Laura Marriott explores Daniel Wade’s The Collector and Mark Richardson’s Anonymous, two recent productions in Dublin that explore contemporary social issues.

Steely Lies The Heart
Essay

Steely Lies The Heart

Musings on Playwriting in the Age of Trump

1 April 2017

Kirsten Greenidge reflects on the playwright's relationship to this unruly moment of cultural shift and what happens to one’s work when the world around us is changing so rapidly?  

The I Told You Show
Essay

The I Told You Show

Anthony Atamanuik’s Take on Trump, The Election, and Where It All Went Wrong

31 March 2017

Allison Raynor interviews Anthony Atamanuik, a Donald Trump impersonator who critiques both the president and audiences in his latest solo piece.

We Are the Heroes We Need
Essay

We Are the Heroes We Need

Squeaky Fromme, Assassins, and the Call for Arts Activism

28 March 2017

Kitty Drexel writes about Stephen Sondheim's Assassins , and the need for artists to defend natinoal arts funding.

Conversation Claudia Rankine: On Whiteness
Video

Conversation Claudia Rankine: On Whiteness

Friday 24 March 2017
Boston, MA, United States

ArtsEmerson in Boston presented the conversation Claudia Rankine: On Whiteness livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv Friday 24 March at 3:00 p.m. PDT (Los Angeles) / 6:00 p.m. EDT (New York) / 22:00 GMT-UTC (London) / 23:00 CET (Berlin). On Twitter, follow @ArtsEmerson and #howlround.

Theatre After 11/9
Essay

Theatre After 11/9

What Now?

23 March 2017

Playwright Charles Gershman talks with seven fellow theatre practitioners about the impact of the 2016 presidential election on their work and view of theatre.

Truthful Intelligence
Essay

Truthful Intelligence

A Play about Power and Politics

23 February 2017

Holly Derr writes about Jacqueline E. Lawton’s new play at Arena Stage, part of their Power Plays commissioning initiative.

Subpoetics International
Essay

Subpoetics International

A Boat Constructed While on Water

22 February 2017

Seth Baumrin, artistic director of Subpoetics International, discusses the history, process, and journey of a company working with the stories of refugees and displaced peoples to find their way.