Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bang Bins for Climate Justice

With dust bins for drums we banged out infectious rhythms, danced, chanted and made original street theatre. In the picture above the guy is shouting about saving water but really that's the last thing that she wants to hear because she has to pee so bad. This training was sponsored by Centre for Social Action at Christ University and organized by Reap Benefit.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

South Indian Dalit Theatre Festival

Theatre artists and culture critics from across South India came together at Econest in Vagamon, Kerala for the South Indian Dalit Theatre Festival hosted by Chindu. Shadow Liberation hosted a lively shadow dancing session in the first evening.

There were powerful moments of debate denouncing the caste system and moving performances that reminded us of the deep human suffering that results from systemic oppression.

I lead an interactive workshop,"In the Dark", where we creatively strategized how to illuminate the shadows of social injustice. Think Rainbow of Desire meets the shadow cast by the caste system. See more pictures on the Shadow Liberation Facebook page.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Shadow Liberation Trailers

The stage at Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication came to life as the performers of Shadow Liberation gave a teaser performance and screened our trailers.

The Director of Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Mrs. Maya Chakravarti V, described the performance as "an amazingly soul searching, yet equally entertaining performance...The message through the medium is sure to shake audiences out of their complacencies and speak up against social atrocities." (see her full message on here)

The audience was lively and energetic as they joined us on stage to dance at the end of the performance. See more pictures from Symbiosis and from the making of the trailers on the Shadow Liberation Facebook page.

We followed up our performance at Symbiosis with another performance and screening at Jaaga: Creative Common Ground the same night, where our preview was again met with great enthusiasm.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Playback Theatre x Rainbow of Desire

Dancing between Playback Theatre and Rainbow of Desire this collaborative cross training between Yours Truly Theatre and Shadow Liberation was a dynamic and beautiful process. As the Playback actors intuitively uncovered the story inside the story, the Shadow Liberation turned inward with the introspective image theatre techniques of the Rainbow of Desire. We look forward to further collaboartions with Yours Truly Theatre. See more pictures from the workshop on Shadow Liberation's Facebook page.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Enter the Shadows

Shadow Liberation opened our studio at CEMA (Center for Experimental Media Arts) to the public for the first time with our event: Enter the Shadows... an interactive experience in light and shadow.

The event consisted of 3 main shadow rooms. One room was full of shadow puppets and materials for participants to manipulate on the overhead projector. Like the fish pictured above.

The second room had an overhead projector with a glass tray of liquid on it. This rooms projections moved with the motion of oil, water, inks and bubbles.

The third room was a shadow dance room, equipped with loud club music, shadow profile masks and shadow props. By the end of the night around 200 people had moved through our space, check out the pictures on the Shadow Liberation Facebook page.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Shadows of a Flaming Silence

It's a sexual assault epidemic but we're not going to let it defeat our spirits. At the National Association for Drama Therapy conference in San Francisco, I invited people to step into the shadows during my workshop, Shadows of a Flaming Silence: Drama Therapy and Sexual Violence. 

The participants created shadow skits exploring resilience. I also shared Gender Shadow and spoke about the upcoming Shadow Liberation project. Thanks to all survivors and thrivers for bringing this epidemic to light so we can face the shadows.

Friday, October 28, 2011

#occupy Homelessness

This group of Homeless performers is out to make a real change. Through Forum Theatre Concrete Justice, of Theatre of the Oppressed NYC, is raising awareness about the critical issues faced by homeless in the city. I had the honor of helping out with sound at their performance, as well as workshopping their play to make it more street theatre friendly. I also joined the troupe on a trip to Occupy Wall Street to scout out the scene for a performance there.

In addition to Forum Theatre, Concrete Justice is putting together a Poetry Book and they could use your support. Check out the cool pledge incentives in their kickstarter campaign

The Immigration Circus

It has been a pleasure to spend 6 weeks developing the original Forum Theatre pieces for the upcoming series of performances of Immigration Circus. Under the creative direction of Katy Rubin, Theatre of the Oppressed NYC, and Mino Lora, Peoples Theatre Project. Read more about the project in the Article Published in the NY Daily News

Unfortunately I won't be around for the performances because I'll be back in India already, but for those of you in New York I highly recommend it. Details are available at http://immigrationcircus.eventbrite.com/

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Practice of Play

Here I am at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology after giving a workshop for counseling psychology students. We had a good laugh while playing and reflecting upon Drama Therapy in practice.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Seasons of Appreciation

As the colors on the leaves change I wrap up my adventure guiding a group of educators in the practice of Drama as Critical Literacy. The image about contains leaves with appreciations from the group I worked with in Cave Springs Georgia on the original trail of tears. The students projects included a shadow puppet performance about bullying, a monologue from Sojourner truth and a multi media piece about communication between deaf, or hearing impaired, students and their parents. @Lesley University #DecolonizeTheClassroom

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


As the buzz about Occupy Wall Street gains momentum, I went to Wall Street with a handful of artist from the People's Theatre Project to offer an open workshop. We played a few games, did a mini-forum and some image theatre. Demonstrators young and old joined in the creative process of envisioning where this movement is heading. Read more about the workshop in the Manhattan Times article (in English and in Spanish). See more pictures on the Uptown Collective website. Read personal testimonials from the 99% at http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/ 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Shake Up Shakespeare

How can Theatre of the Oppressed and Drama Therapy concepts be integrated into the process of doing Shakespeare with middle school youth in the process of learning English as a second language? How can students lives and experience be central to the creative process? How can teaching artists make the learning process visible? These were the key questions in this workshop I facilitated for the teaching artists at Peoples Theatre Project. The pictures are from an image theatre activity we did about hopes and fears (rose and thorn) for this school year's residencies. 

See some of the work of Peoples Theatre Project at their YouTube channel Theatre in the Heights.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Impulse 2 Act

How can we awaken the impulse to act in the face of injustice? 75+ students from Srishti School of Art, Design, and Technology joined me in this 4 day workshop. The students did an Incognito Impulse Study, which involved invisible theatre scenes in and around Bangalore, followed by interviews with bystanders. These videos are online at impulse2act.tumblr.com. The worksop culminated in a performance / dance party.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Teaching with Purpose

It's been a while since I last worked with Ignis (see Drama Therapy and Social Work blogpost), so I was excited to get to facilitate this workshop about critical thinking and reconnecting with our purpose as educators. In addition to the core Ignis teachers and trainers, we were joined by some of their collaborators from Camp VOICE. See the Camp VOICE video bellow. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dalit Theatre for Critical Consciousness

These drums are covered with flower petals and 3 candles. I was invited to light the first of the 3 candles in the invocation ritual of a 2 day training I facilitated at Henry Martyn Institute, for Chindu, a Dalit Theatre company based in Hyderbad, Andra Pradesh, India. 

Dalit Consciousness and Cultural Empowerment took center stage as we defined and personified the core principles of Chindu's creative work with Dalit communities. Dalits are people of the under castes in India (AKA the untouchables). Through Rainbow of Desire and Cops in the Head activities we critically examined internalized oppression and reflected on the implications of integrating these techniques in Chindu's model of Dalit Theatre. 

To leverage community wisdom toward mobilization we created a forum theatre anti-model and deconstructed the process. Chindu has a rich tradition of producing playback theatre performances and films. See the youtube clip below from Chindu's film Mahadiga. 

It was an honor to work with Chindu and get more intimately acquainted with the model of Dalit Theatre they are developing. Thank you for warm hospitality, critical questioning and deep commitment to working not only for the Dalit communities you come from, but for all Dalit communities.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Open Stage - Preview

Here I am in Bangalore, India, speaking to students at the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, about the my upcoming project Open Stage. I couldn't image a more engaged audience of this size.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Back to the Future of Leaning

Arzu and I lead a learning group at the Future of Learning Institute, put on by Project Zero of Harvard Graduate School of Education. We were mapping the unknown territory at the intersections of technology, neuroscience and globalization. See the Throughline questions pictured here.

The members of the learning group came from a variety of different professional backgrounds (teachers, administrators, educational business people, etc.) and from different countries (including Mexico, India, Korea, Brazil, Germany and the US). All with the common purpose of envisioning the future of learning.

We used a range of creative and reflective methods in our group process. Above the group is engaging in  a Chalk Talk about the key ideas of the institute. Below the group is personifying some of the hot topics from the Chalk Talk through DJing Images, in preparation for a Concept Mapping.

Below Arzu is in active dialogue with participants in the process of Concept mapping.

The 4-day institute concluded with a live Twitter Fountain display of participant reflections. All the institute Tweets can be found on Twitter with the hashtag 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed

Today Arzu Mistry and I presented about Gender Shadow at the 17th Annual Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Conference in Chicago. After a slide presentation we did some Image Theatre and DJing Images (pictured bellow) to facilitate our transition from naming issues into shadow exploration of the themes. "Without talking, they position their bodies in a still pose, to express their opinion or idea or experience of the theme." Boal (2002, p.177)

After a couple DJing Images songs warmed the group up to the language of Images, we were ready to turn the lights out. We hung 2 white sheets from a rope with laundry line clips and projected on them from behind with over head projectors. Some participants made shadow masks while others played with transparencies and color cellophane. Shadows and light contrasted like the known and the unknown, the desired liberation and the reality of oppression.

Read my Gender Shadow Article in Teaching Artist Journal

Boal, A. (2002). Games for Actors and Non-actors (2nd ed.). (A. Jackson, Trans.). London: Routledge.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Arts in Healthcare Conference

I had the pleasure of sharing Gender Shadow once again at the Arts in Healthcare Conference Series 2011: Violence Prevention in Schools and Communities at Lesley University.  It was an honor to share the stage with Commissioner John Auerbach of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Mark Smith of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Donna Luther, the Summer Stars Camp Director, who was accompanied by a camp graduate.  The Summer Stars Camp presentation was truly inspirational. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Kids Dancing Against Violence

"You can't hate your origins and not hate yourself." - Malcolm X

Bringing the belief that cultural empowerment can remedy street violence, these kids performed the piece shown in the video above, at the  Bird Street Community Center Arts Bash. This project is sponsored by  Culture for Change

The lo-fi shadow effects were created with an overhead projector, color cellophane, and mesh fabric.

This was the last performance for us this school year. I uploaded the following image of a thank you note written by one of the kids.