Program Description: Explore the art and practice of making theatre for social change. Influenced by Brazilian theatre practitioner, Augusto Boal’s Newspaper Theatre technique, this workshop experiments with strategies for using oral testimonies to engage with and complicate our understanding of pressing social justice issues and histories.
Date/Time: June 30, 1:30-4pm
Registration: The workshop is free, but space is limited. Interested in attending? Please fill out this form and we will be in touch.
About the workshop:
Participants will explore the art and practice of making theatre for social change. Influenced by Brazilian theatre practitioner, Augusto Boal’s Newspaper Theatre technique, this workshop experiments with strategies for using oral testimonies to engage with and complicate our understanding of pressing social justice issues and histories. How do we as writers stage the gaps and limitations of official news media narratives by centering marginalized voices? How do we take audiences on an empathetic journey to unfamiliar worlds and perspectives? How do we mine the possibilities of liveness, ephemerality, and empathy that both oral history and performance open up as a means to break through the rigid structures and systems that prevent us from witnessing one another’s stories? Through a series of exercises and prompts combining words and movement, this workshop provides an interactive introduction to the work of making theatre that uses oral history to speak back to the archive. We will use media sources and oral testimonies on the issue of police violence in the United States as foundational material.
Oral History Summer School was established in Hudson, New York, in 2012, as an immersive training program to help students from varied fields––writers, social workers, radio producers, artists, teachers, human rights workers––make use of oral history as an ethical interview practice in their lives and work. In addition to our workshops in Hudson, NY and around the country, we are building a Hudson-area archive of oral history interviews with local Hudson-area residents. We have collected over 400 interviews, and look forward to opening the archive in collaboration with the library, this year.
Nikki Yeboah (PhD, Northwestern University) is an oral historian, storyteller and educator. She is an Assistant Professor of Performance Studies at San Jose State University, where her work builds a bridge between institutions of higher education and the communities they serve through direct engagement with the practical problems that frame their lives. Her creative work uses oral history and performance to facilitate dialogue around issues of gender and racial inequality and social justice. Her most recent work, The (M)others, is a documentary play based on the testimonies of Bay-Area mothers who have lost loved ones to police violence. Her performances have been staged at The Soraya (Los Angeles), New College of Florida (Sarasota) The Hammer Theatre (San José), The Marsh (San Francisco), Links Hall (Chicago) & the Chicago Cultural Center. Nikki has served as a Northwestern University Programming Fellow at the Chicago Humanities Festival. She is currently a board member of Storycenter & Oleear, two non-profit organizations that use storytelling for social change.