Applied Theatre Practice

As a practitioner of Applied Theatre, I run theatre programs in community and educational settings. I do so in order to catalyze dialogue, growth, or change. Much of my work has focused on nurturing intercultural encounters: I have worked on theatre projects with interracial groups of South Africans, with Palestinians and Jewish Israelis in Jerusalem, with Kurdish and Arab Iraqis, and with interfaith and interracial groups in US cities. In addition to this dialogue-based work, I have also worked on theatre projects that attempt to catalyze political action and foster personal and community healing. Below, I briefly profile a few Applied Theatre projects that I’ve worked on. For a full list of my Applied Theatre work, please see my CV.

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Theatre of the Oppressed

From 2015-2018, I was an Artistic Associate at Living Stages, a non-profit organization in Portland, OR that uses “Theatre of the Oppressed” methodologies to advocate for greater racial and economic justice. I worked with Living Stages to develop interactive theatre events and facilitate those events.

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Playback Theatre

From 2015-2018, I was an ensemble member of Portland Playback – a Portland-based company practicing an interactive, improvisational form of performance called Playback Theatre. With its roots in drama therapy, Playback Theatre companies solicit real stories from their audiences, and dramatize those stories in ways that stimulate audiences to look at those experiences anew.

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In 2012-2013, I worked with a black Baptist church and a Reform synagogue to co-faciliitate a theatre program in which congregants studied Biblical narratives together by dramatizing them. Using a methodology called Bibliodrama, my co-facilitator Brian Smith and I catalyzed a year-long, interracial and interfaith conversation about partnerships based in Biblical narratives and unlikely relationship-building. For more information on this project, please see my PhD dissertation or my 2016 article in Research in Drama Education.

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Global Youth Village

In Summers 2011 and 2012, I ran drama workshops at Global Youth Village – a summer camp for teenagers who come from all over the world to practice intercultural dialogue and study peacebuilding. My workshops used methodologies associated with Playback Theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed to open up a space in which personal stories could be shared in a fully-embodied way, promoting intercultural understanding. I have published an article in The Drama Review based on some of my experiences at GYV, and I will be writing more about these experiences in my upcoming book.

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Pollsmoor Prison

In 2007, I ran an intercultural theatre program with juvenile inmates of Pollsmoor Prison, in Cape Town, South Africa. I worked with them to create original pieces of theatre about schools, gangs, crime, and HIV. I have written about this process in my MA thesis, and I will be writing more about it in my upcoming book.