Theater of the Oppressed as a Fight Back Tool: Some Practical Skills for Activists - Part 1

Host/Sponsor: 
Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB)
Room: 
Timeslot: 
Abstract: 
With the ascent of Trump to the presidency, a repulsive and sinister politic has become the impetus that motivates and drives public policy, and Trump's hardcore base has become emboldened to a frightening degree. The language—and worse, the sentiment—of racism, bigotry and hate has been legitimized and is now, for so many people, totally acceptable in public discourse. Nazis and Klansmen have emerged from their closets and have become part of the mainstream. Yet, while much of the ruling class is moving rightward at an accelerated pace, society is moving to the left. This workshop will look at various forms of oppression to see how they interrelate with class, how class affects us collectively, and how awareness and consciousnaess of one's place and role in class society can be used as a tool for mobilizing and organizing people and communities to fight for social justice, economic equality and a world where wealth is shared by all, for the benefit of all, and not owned by a small clique of capitalists who have appropriated it for their own use. Participants will learn games and exercises used in Theater of the Oppressed that can be taken back to their organizations, communities and constituencies to use in their mobilizing and organizing campaigns for radical transformation.
Reading List: 
Democratic Process & Theater of the Oppressed, Marie-Claire Picher (from toplabnyc@gmail.com); Theater of the Oppressed, Augusto Boal; Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire; 4. The Retreat from Class: A New "True" Socialism, Ellen Meiksins Wood
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker First Name: 
Marie-Claire
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Last Name: 
Picher
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Affiliation: 
Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB)
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker 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 1/Second Facilitator First Name: 
Gail
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Last Name: 
Burton
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Affiliation: 
Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB)
Speaker 1/Second 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 2/Third Facilitator First Name: 
Leonie
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Last Name: 
Ettinger
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Affiliation: 
The Living Theatre
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Biography: 
Leonie Ettinger is a theater and performance curator, dramaturg, producer, and scholar who has worked in Germany, Israel, and the UK. NYC collaborations: The Private Theatre, The Civilians, La Mama ETC, Franklin Furnace, The Living Theatre, and Brave New World Repertory Theatre. NYU teaching and research assistant: Professor Karen Finley and Professor Ulrich Baer. Member of Platypus Affiliated Society. B.A., Goldsmiths College London; Acting Conservatory, Stella Adler Studio, NYC; M.A. Performance Studies, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU; Ph.D. student, Department of German, NYU.
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator First Name: 
Shanise
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator Last Name: 
Rhiney
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator Affiliation: 
Making Moves
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator Biography: 
Shanise V. Rhiney is a licensed social worker with a dance background, experienced in positive youth development, crisis intervention, and program coordination. She is committed to using leadership development, the arts, and civic engagement as tools for edifying youth and reducing risk behavior. Shanise’s holistic approach to working with young people is mirrored by her diverse interests, interdisciplinary education, and work experience in various child-serving systems and community-based organizations. Shanise has worked in family court, foster care, and after-school programming as a teaching artist. An alumnus of Achieving Leadership’s Purpose (ALP), she also served as coordinator of ALP- a leadership development program for high school youth of the African Diaspora. Currently, Shanise works at the New York State Office of Mental Health as a Mental Health Program Specialist, evaluating and monitoring licensed mental health programs. She graduated from the University at Buffalo with a BA in Anthropology and Health and Human Services. She later received a Master’s degree in Social Work from New York University. Currently, she works with Making Moves, an organization devoted to addressing the holistic needs of children impacted by trauma. Using program development, curriculum design, group facilitation, strategic planning, and leadership development, Making Moves is committed to developing initiatives and strengthening programs to be effective, outcome-driven, and trauma-informed.
Panel/Workshop Organizer First Name: 
Bill
Panel/Workshop Organizer Last Name: 
Koehnlein
Panel/Workshop Organizer Affiliation: 
Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB)
 

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