Legislative Theatre Training with Katy Rubin

News 2 Aug 2022

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a challenge participating in democracy?
Or, if you’ve ever been impacted by an unjust rule or policy?

Interested in how we, the people, can make a difference and challenge the inequalities and injustices we see around us, which impact our lives? 

Interested in system-change? Interested in democratic process? Interested in socially engaged theatre?

For the first time in the North East of England, come and learn how these interests can be brought together in a dynamic way with Katy Rubin, founder of Theatre of the Oppressed New York.

The Background:

Three decades ago, Theatre of the Oppressed founder Augusto Boal brought a forum play into Rio de Janeiro’s city council chambers, and began using theatre to propose changes to local and national laws. Legislative Theatre is now practiced around the world, from New York City to the Netherlands to India — creative, radical, participatory democracy, based on a foundation of the liberatory ethics and methodology of Theatre of the Oppressed. 

In Legislative Theatre, audiences and policymakers watch a play based on the community actors’ experiences with oppressive policies and practices. Then, audiences act onstage to rehearse ways to confront the problems presented, and test new policies in real time. Actors and audiences propose ideas for new laws, rules and policies to address the problems, working together with advocates, organizers, and government representatives. Finally, we vote on new rules, and policymakers commit to immediate actions, and to being held to account for these commitments.

About the Workshop:

In this training, we will use games and exercises to create an original Legislative Theatre play, incorporating political analysis and participatory policy research, addressing an issue that impacts the group. Then we will work through a mock Legislative Theatre session, with a focus on facilitation that flips the power dynamics between policymakers and communities. Finally, we will experiment with new games for pitching and refining policies towards implementation! 

Who is it for?

Anyone who wants to spark creative structural change within institutions and systems. Theatre of the Oppressed experience is welcome but not required! 

We aim to make the training as accessible as possible, taking account of childcare and other caring responsibilities, access, and considerations aiming to remove barriers to participation. You can access the training on a pay what you can basis, including free spaces. If there are ways we can support you to participate, please let us know and we will try our best. If your organisation/employer is able to pay for a place as part of staff training/development, this will help support the other costs of running the training and meeting the needs of the participants.

Katy Rubin is a Joker and Legislative Theatre practitioner based in the UK, working towards a participatory democracy that is joyful, equitable and inclusive. She’s currently working with communities and local councils to re-imagine policy on housing and homelessness, climate change, and cultural institutions. Originally from New York City, she served as founding director of Theatre of the Oppressed NYC from 2011-2018. The training is brought to the North East by a collaboration between Rosa Stourac McCreery’s Theatre of the Oppressed in the North East project, and The Lawnmowers Independent Theatre Company, and will be hosted at Lawnmowers Art Centre in Pelaw, Gateshead.

This Training has ended. If you like to know more please contact us.

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