Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB)
SATURDAY June 3rd Session 1: 10:00am - 11:50am
Throughout history artists have led grassroots movements of protest, resistance, and liberation. They created dangerously, sometimes becoming martyrs for the cause. Their efforts kindled a fire, aroused the imagination and rallied the troops, culminating in real transformational change. Their art served as a form of dissent during times of war, social upheaval, and political unrest. Less dramatically, perhaps, artists have also participated in demonstrations, benefit concerts, and have become philanthropists in support of their favorite causes. These artists have been overlooked or given too little attention in the literature on leadership, even though the consequences of their courageous crusades, quite often, resulted in censorship, “blacklisting,” imprisonment, and worse. This panel, and the recently-released book (April 2017) "Grassroots Leadership and the Arts for Social Change" (Susan J. Erenrich and Jon F. Wergin, eds. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing, 2017. ISBN: 978-1-78635-688-8.), seeks to explore the intersection of grassroots leadership and the arts for social change by accentuating the many victories artists have won for humanity. History has shown that these imaginative movers and shakers are a force with which to be reckoned with. Through this panel and forthcoming book, we hope panel participants will vicariously experience the work of these brave figures, reflect on their commitments and achievements, and continue to dream a better world full of possibility.
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker First Name: 
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Last Name: 
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Affiliation: 
International Leadership Association; Cultural Center for Social Change; American University
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Biography: 
Susan (Susie) Erenrich is a social movement history documentarian. She uses the arts for social change to tell stories about transformational leadership, resilience and societal shifts as a result of mobilization efforts by ordinary citizens. She holds a Ph.D. in Leadership and Change from Antioch University, a M.S. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University, a M.A. in Performing Arts from American University, and a B.A. in Sociology from Kent State University. Susie is the founder/Executive Director of the Cultural Center for Social Change. In that role she has created projects for diverse populations, which have brought to life images of social movement history long forgotten while offering new and thoughtful perspectives on issues never fully addressed. This was accomplished through various artistic mediums. Susie has more than three decades of experience in nonprofit/arts administration, civic engagement, community service and community organizing. She also has diversified teaching experience at universities, public schools and community- based programs for at-risk, low-income populations; has edited and produced historical audio recordings and anthologies; and has extensive performance, choreography and production experience. She currently teaches at American University and is the producer and host of Wasn't That A Time: Stories & Songs That Moved The Nation on WERA.FM.
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator First Name: 
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Last Name: 
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Affiliation: 
Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB)
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Biography: 
Marie-Claire Picher, Ph.D, is a co-founder (1990) of the Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB), the oldest group in the United States offering facilitation training in the techniques and methodology of the Theater of the Oppressed (TO). She has worked and collaborated closely with TO founder and creator Augusto Boal until his death in 2009. One of the most experienced Theater of the Oppressed practitioners in North America, she has presented thousands of hours of training workshops in New York and throughout the United States. She has worked in Cuba; in Quiche, Guatemala on several projects involving community rebuilding and healing following the 36-year-long civil war that resulted in the near-genocide of the Mayan people and the murders of more than 200,000 indigenous Guatemalans; in Mexico City with street children, and also with peace and social justice groups; in Tabasco, Mexico with a youth community; and in the Mexican state of Chiapas with the Diocese of San Cristobal de las Casas in the cities of Comitan and San Cristobal, and in autonomous Zapatista communities elsewhere in the state.
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator First Name: 
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Last Name: 
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Affiliation: 
Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB)
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Biography: 
Gail A. Burton grew up in East Harlem NYC and graduated from Radcliffe College, Harvard University. She received her Master’s in Education with a specialization in Politics, Drama and Civic Engagement from Goddard College. She is a member of the facilitation collective, Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB). She has studied as a Joker of Theater of the Oppressed under the guidance of Marie-Claire Picher and Augusto Boal. Additionally, she has trained Jokers of Theater of the Oppressed nationally through the TOPLAB facilitation training program, and internationally for the Federation of Senegalese Theater of the Oppressed groups. She has facilitated workshops for hundreds of participants since beginning her training in 2006. Burton is on the faculty in the Masters of Theater Education program at Emerson College, Boston; and formerly on the Art and Humanities faculty at Roxbury Community College, Boston. She has been a member of the Medea Project Theater for Incarcerated Women in San Francisco and founder of the New Freedwoman Project in Massachusetts. She is a recipient of the Black Butterfly Leadership Award in the category of WARRIOR; as well as the Cambridge Peace Award in honor of Muses, her first play, which created positive visibility for LGBTQA communities of African descent in Massachusetts. Her work has been written about in such publications as the African American Review, ArtsMedia magazine, Proscenium magazine, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Boston Phoenix, Bay Windows, and Bay State Banner and has been interviewed for the Commonwealth Journal on WMBR. Currently, Burton served on the steering committee of the Boston Busing Desegregation Project, which engages community educators from the metro-Boston area in using storytelling, narrative and applied theater methodologies to re-vision quality education for all.
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator Last Name: 
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator Affiliation: 
Artistic Director, UpSurge! NYC; Poet-in-Residence, Black Agenda Report; Steering Committee member, National Writers Union
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator Biography: 
Raymond Nat Turner is a NYC poet privileged to have read at the Harriet Tubman Centennial Symposium. Turner is a Steering Committee Member of the New York Chapter of the National Writers Union (NWU). He's also Artistic Director of the stalwart JazzPoetry Ensemble UpSurgeNYC and has appeared at numerous festivals and venues including the Monterey Jazz Festival and Panafest in Ghana West Africa. He currently is Poet-in-Residence at Black Agenda Report, and a frequent contributor to Dissident Voice, Struggle and aaduna. Turner has opened for such people as James Baldwin, People’s Advocate Cynthia McKinney, progressive sportswriter Dave Zirin and CA Congresswoman Barbara Lee following her lone vote against attacking Afghanistan.
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator First Name: 
Raymond Nat
Panel/Workshop Organizer First Name: 
Panel/Workshop Organizer Last Name: 
Panel/Workshop Organizer Affiliation: 
Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB)