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Welcome to the 2019 Pedagogy & Theatre of the Oppressed Conference Schedule!

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Workshop: The Applications [clear filter]
Friday, June 14
 

10:45am MDT

Using Modified TO Techniques with High School Students!
Limited Capacity seats available

Program Description: This workshop presented by Grand Valley State University’s ReACT! troupe will look at how university students use modified TO techniques in interactive performances for High School audiences. 

Speakers
AC

Alex Coy

Production Manager, ReACT!
My name is Alexander Coy, and I am the production manager for ReACT!, a theatre group from Grand Valley State University. ReACT! is an anti-violence peer theatre education troupe that uses dynamic performance techniques to investigate ways of creating positive social change and decreasing... Read More →


Friday June 14, 2019 10:45am - 12:15pm MDT
Cottonwood 217 (Upper Level) 2200 Bonforte Blvd, Pueblo, CO 81001, USA

1:30pm MDT

Integrating Arts-Based Practices: Further Explorations of Theatre of the Oppressed and Photovoice (DOUBLE SESSION)
Limited Capacity seats available

Program Description: In this applications workshop, participants engage in an innovative process that integrates practices of Photovoice (community-based, documentary photography), Image Theatre, and Rainbow of Desire. 

Abstract:  At the 2017 PTO Conference, we facilitated a session on using Photovoice to inspire Theatre of the Oppressed, with a specific focus on Image Theater. Rooted in feminist theories and Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed (education for critical consciousness, in particular), Photovoice is a participatory documentary photography process that enables people to promote critical dialogue and produce shared knowledge to make change (Wang & Burris, 1997). We wanted participants to consider how a Photovoice process (taking photos, storytelling, reflection) could influence Image Theatre-making in interesting ways. We received positive feedback on our session, with one of our participants declaring “this was a beautiful process.”

At a 2018 national conference for educational developers, we co-facilitated a session that engaged a largely non-theatre participant group in Photovoice and T.O. activities as powerful tools for advancing liberatory classroom and institutional spaces. At this conference, we extended our 2017 PTO conference session structure and introduced Rainbow of Desire methods into the mix. Our ongoing experimentation of this integrated group of arts-based practices--Photovoice, Image Theatre, and Rainbow of Desire--enables participants from diverse professional backgrounds to consider a variety of creative and embodied tools to enact multi-level change.

In this participatory workshop, we will practice a sequence of Photovoice and embodied activities, reflect on the process and its impacts, and discuss potential applications. Our goal is for participants to consider the benefits of integrating visual, storytelling, and TO approaches to advance liberatory practices.

Challenging Questions
1. What is Photovoice, and why might we use it in concert with Theatre of the Oppressed?
2. What are the praxis connections between Photovoice and Theatre of the Oppressed (e.g., theoretical, methodological, pedagogical)?
3. How could this integrated, iterative process be used in community, educational, organizational, and institutional settings to promote solidarity and liberation?

 
 

Speakers
avatar for Tikka Sears

Tikka Sears

Director, Theater for Change UW
Tikka Sears is the co-founder and director of Theater for Change at the University of Washington. As a theater director, performer and teaching artist, she creates original works fusing arts-based pedagogy, Theatre of the Oppressed, physical theater, and community-based performance... Read More →
avatar for Theresa Ronquillo

Theresa Ronquillo

Assistant Director, Center for Teaching & Learning Excellence, Virginia Commonwealth University
I am Filipina American. Daughter of immigrants. Born in Detroit. Lived in the Midwest until age 30.  Twelve year stint in the Pacific NW. Currently live in the South. Unmoored. Parent. Partner. PhD. Writer. Social Worker. Educator. Educational Developer. Learner. Theatre of the Oppressed... Read More →


Friday June 14, 2019 1:30pm - 4:45pm MDT
Great Plains 006a/b (Lower Level) 2200 Bonforte Blvd, Pueblo, CO 81001, USA

1:30pm MDT

To Counteract Abuse in Health Care with Forum Play: A pilot study with doctors and nurses in Sri Lanka (DOUBLE SESSION)
Limited Capacity seats available

Program Description: We use Forum Play to explore experiences of abuse in health care. A joker leads the work from warm up exercises to short improvised plays based on the participant’s stories. 

Abstract: This workshop starts with a short presentation of a research project conducted in Colombo, Sri Lanka, evaluating Forum Play as an intervention against abuse in health care (AHC). Then we use Forum Play to explore our own experiences in health care. A joker leads the work from warm up exercises to short improvised plays based on the participant’s stories.

Studies show that AHC is prevalent, causing long lasting suffering in patients. Important aspects may be dehumanization and/or discrimination. The aim of this project was to assess the possibilities for using a participatory theatre technique, Forum Play, as a method for reducing/preventing AHC.

We offered four workshops, two with medical doctors and two with nurses. The workshops were led by a Joker and lasted four hours. Focus was on collaborative exploration of AHC situations, identified by the participants. Before and after the workshop participants answered a questionnaire about AHC, and focus group discussions were held after each workshop.

Our study showed that Forum Play is an eye-opener, useful to promote critical thinking and create awareness. As the workshops unfolded and the participants became comfortable with the situation, more stories were told and AHC became a shared experience. At the follow up participants more often reported that they had been involved personally in cases of AHC compared to before the workshop.

The project not only promote critical thinking by questioning power hierarchies within health care, it also puts the spotlight on power asymmetries based on gender and ethnicity. It empowered people by showing a broad repertoire of alternatives in situations characterized by power asymmetries.

Challenging Questions
1.  What patient stories are there that tell about abuse and power asymmetries in health care?
2. What kind of power does the patient possess to prevent abuse in health care?
3. How can Forum Play prepare health care staff to counteract abuse in health care?
 

 

Speakers
KS

Katarina Swahnberg

Professor, Linnaeus University
Katarina Swahnberg professor in Global health has conducted research interventions using Forum Theatre and Forum Play in different projects to counteract abuse in health care (Sweden and Sri Lanka), and violence against women and trafficking (Nepal), starting 2008.


Friday June 14, 2019 1:30pm - 4:45pm MDT
Wolf Den 005 (Lower Level) 2200 Bonforte Blvd, Pueblo, CO 81001, USA

3:15pm MDT

Transformative Theater in 90 Minutes
Limited Capacity seats available

Program Description: The idea of creating a full play, particularly in a limited amount of time and with a group of people not always familiar with theatre, can be intimidating. This five-panel Image Theater process, developed with Pace University students, makes play development more accessible, regardless of experience. 

Speakers
AE

Aidan Everly

Student, Pace University
Aidan is thrilled to be here in Pueblo for the 2019 PTO Conference. He is a BFA Acting major at Pace University. He is very excited to meet and learn from all of you wonderful people! Pronouns: he/him/his. IG: aidan_everly
JL

Jazlyn Lewis

Student, Pace University
Jazlyn is a BFA Acting major at Pace University and is excited to be attending the conference. This is her first conference so please be gentle.
MM

Molly McElaney

Student, Pace University
Molly is a BA Film & Screen Studies and English Literature and Language student. Pronouns are she/her/hers and she is excited to be here for her first PTO conference.


Friday June 14, 2019 3:15pm - 4:45pm MDT
Cottonwood 217 (Upper Level) 2200 Bonforte Blvd, Pueblo, CO 81001, USA
 
Saturday, June 15
 

9:00am MDT

A Couch is Not a Home – The Lighthouse Project
Limited Capacity seats available

Program Description: Join us as we shift our perceptions of homelessness with the use of film, musicality and movement, while discussing how we can unite commonly separated groups without the erasure of identity.  

Abstract: ‘A Couch is Not a Home: the Lighthouse Project’ is a workshop designed to challenge how our definition of “home” is in contrast and connection to community. The workshop is a continuation of a collaborative production between Coastal Carolina University students and clients of Project Lighthouse, a haven for homeless youth in Myrtle Beach, SC. Through workshops between these two communities, stories and experiences lit the way into a re-envisioning of societal structures that perpetuate homelessness in order to include their community in critical civic engagement. The project worked to challenge the status quo through various theatrically devised vignettes that examined their perception of homelessness. Using various applied theatre techniques, these two groups confronted their differing levels of privilege while creating an open dialogue about homelessness. As bell hooks states in Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope, “Creating trust usually means finding out what it is we have in common as well as what separates us and makes us different. Lots of people fear encountering difference because they think that honestly naming it will lead to conflict. The truth is our denial of the reality of difference has created ongoing conflict for everyone.” Ultimately, they created a new community that transcends class and celebrates differences. This workshop will use that process as a platform to continue to destigmatize the taboo of homelessness. Through the universality of storytelling, movement and music we will confront the fundamental right to shelter. ‘A Couch is Not a Home’ asks what is home and who can have it. 

Challenging Questions
1. How can people unite across differences, without erasing difference, to build stronger movements for collective liberation?
2. How can we shift the perception of and inclusion of homeless populations, without further destigmatizing these communities?
3. How does capitalism perpetuate homelessness upon those without privilege and then how do those communities reclaim homelessness? How do we decriminalize homelessness and explore the idea that a “home” is more than just four walls and a couch?
 


Speakers
avatar for Amanda Masterpaul

Amanda Masterpaul

Teaching Associate, Coastal Carolina University
Amanda Masterpaul is a Teaching Associate with the Theatre Department, specializing in Applied Theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed practices in addition to teaching Women's and Gender Studies classes at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC. She came to the PTO conference for... Read More →


Saturday June 15, 2019 9:00am - 10:30am MDT
Cottonwood 217 (Upper Level) 2200 Bonforte Blvd, Pueblo, CO 81001, USA

9:00am MDT

The Story of the Body: Oppression, Yoga, and Theatre
Limited Capacity seats available

Program Description: Explore the history of your body through community connection, gentle yoga, and theatre practices. Experiment with ways to listen, communicate with, and express its story.  

Abstract: For folks experiencing systemic oppression and other forms of trauma, the effects are not theoretical and abstract. They are specifically felt and held in the physical body. Theatre and yoga are active, physical and tangible ways to recognize, respond to, and heal the deep effects of trauma and oppression. Through healing, we hope to find agency and liberation as individuals and communities. Through facilitating, we hope to offer healing practices while actively dismantling toxic power dynamics and the systems of oppression we have been conditioned into.

We begin with a check in, welcoming all voices into the room. We connect as a community through eye contact and shared human emotions. Having created a vulnerable and supportive container to work in, we move into a simple yoga practice that matches movement and breath. We introduce “interoception,” or the sensing of what is happening inside the body. Once we recognize these experiences on a cellular level, we are able to choose how to interact with them. These trauma sensitive yoga techniques will focus on choice making and presence.

Finally, “The Story of the Body” is an exercise in connecting to different parts of the physical body and expressing the stories they reveal to us through movement. The practice involves somatic mediation, written reflection, and creation of statues and movement pieces which embody what we’ve observed. It moves the practice from an internal and felt experience, to a private written experience, to a sharable and expressive experience.

We will address specific ways to make spaces more trauma sensitive (i.e. invitational language, how to encourage agency in a student/teacher relationship.) 

Challenging Questions
1. How do you see oppression being linked to the physical body?
2. How can we honor the cultural integrity of yoga, while also meeting the varied needs of specific populations (i.e. those in substance use treatment facilities, queer and trans spaces, etc.)
3. As leaders, how can we recognize and dismantle oppressive power dynamics we may be perpetuating?
 

Speakers
avatar for Sasha Sigel

Sasha Sigel

I use yoga and theatre, sometimes together and sometimes separately, to offer pathways towards liberation. Theatre for political and social change is my focus as an actor and facilitator, and I teach yoga through a lens of trauma sensitivity. My training is from the University of... Read More →


Saturday June 15, 2019 9:00am - 10:30am MDT
Great Plains 006a/b (Lower Level) 2200 Bonforte Blvd, Pueblo, CO 81001, USA

1:30pm MDT

Connecting Embodied Education with Trauma Healing
Limited Capacity seats available

Program Description: Join several trauma workers in an interactive, embodied workshop on connecting PO & TO to trauma healing work! 

Abstract: This workshop will include: 1) an exploration of unprocessed trauma as an embodied experience, 2) how TO and PO can be a means for integrating trauma in a healing way, and 3) non-TO & PO practices addressing trauma in the body.

This workshop will expose attendees to the neurobiology of trauma and support participants in exploring ways PO, TO, and other embodied practices can be connected to trauma healing work.  This workshop will not be a trauma-healing session in and of itself because we will not have the necessary time together to ethically do deep trauma healing work together. Participants will learn how to use language in a more trauma sensitive way, and how to adapt exercises like traditional TO games and yoga to meet needs of folks with unprocessed trauma. In other words, this workshop will be a sampling platter of healing modalities for folks to further explore.  We will also provide many books and other resources for participants to continue to expand their efforts in connecting trauma healing work with PO, TO, and other embodied practices!  Facilitators will be available after workshop to continue discussion and assist with processing for anyone who would like additional support or have additional questions. 

Challenging Questions
1. How do you experience interoception, attunement, emotions, stress, and enjoyment in the body?
2. What are some of the ways PO & TO can be adapted to explore trauma and integrate trauma in the body towards healing?
3. What are the ethics and limits of using PO & TO in trauma work?
 

Speakers
avatar for Skye Kantola

Skye Kantola

Artist & Program Coordinator, Faerie Bear Art & MESA
Skye is a violence prevention educator, a community organizer, and an engaged artist. Skye’s passion for violence prevention, PO and TO in education and social change, and art is rooted in their experiences a disabled trans person, a survivor, and borne in part from their experience... Read More →
avatar for Sasha Sigel

Sasha Sigel

I use yoga and theatre, sometimes together and sometimes separately, to offer pathways towards liberation. Theatre for political and social change is my focus as an actor and facilitator, and I teach yoga through a lens of trauma sensitivity. My training is from the University of... Read More →


Saturday June 15, 2019 1:30pm - 3:00pm MDT
Serena 207 (Upper Level) 2200 Bonforte Blvd, Pueblo, CO 81001, USA

1:30pm MDT

Fortifying the collective: #ForTheCulture
Limited Capacity seats available

Program Description: How can artists and organizers use Theatre of the Oppressed coupled with other commonly used applied theatre strategies to engage their communities for the purpose of positive culture change? 

Abstract: In Tarana Burke’s Ted Talk for TEDWomen 2018 “Me Too is a movement, not a moment”, Tarana speaks of the numbness that can come from being entrenched in the work to dismantle the same oppression that one currently faces or has experienced in the past. She states “It's measuring the magnitude of this task ahead of you versus your own wavering fortitude. Numbness is not always the absence of feeling. Sometimes it's an accumulation of feelings.” How can artists, organizers and activists use Theatre of the Oppressed strategies to help sustain themselves while working to dismantle and fight against the oppressive forces that face them? Participants will engage in dialogue about trauma informed pedagogy being integrated into the work as well as being mindful about their own trauma informed practices such as intentionally building in self-care, building your toolkit while practicing non-bias facilitation, and cultivating group fortitude in order to maximize your impact while working to dismantle and fight against the oppressive forces. In this presentation, we will be exploring strategies and exercises based in the work Augusto Boal, improv, devising, and the art of story-telling. This workshop will include a performance, group discussion, and active participation providing an opportunity for exploration and experiential learning for practitioners at every level.   

Challenging Questions
1. How can you use Theatre of the Oppressed coupled with other applied theatre techniques to cultivate positive cultural shifts in your community?

2. What creative pathways toward liberation from oppressive forces of colonization and other institutionalized social injustices are you using in our practice with measurable outcomes (how are you documenting or measuring these outcomes?

3. Can you share some of your experiences, exercises, best practices, or literature that has provided you with a greater understanding of PTO? Knowing that prevention efforts or cultural changes require multiple interactions and various techniques has this greater understanding made it easier to integrate other strategies and what are some of those strategies that have proved successful?  

Speakers
SC

Shavonne Coleman

Theatre For Dialogue Specialist, Voices Against Violence, CMHC @ University of Texas at Austin
I went to Grad School at Eastern Michigan University and this is where my interest and education in PTO began. After taking an Interactive theatre course that introduced me Augusto Boal and Theatre of the Oppressed, my professor Anita Rich brought me to the PTO conference. That experience... Read More →


Saturday June 15, 2019 1:30pm - 3:00pm MDT
Great Plains 006a/b (Lower Level) 2200 Bonforte Blvd, Pueblo, CO 81001, USA

1:30pm MDT

I am in 5th grade and I know about Augusto Boal!
Limited Capacity seats available

Program Description: The Warehouse Project & Gallery shares techniques used to bring TO and Boal to 5th graders! Participants will walk away with concrete ways to use theatre of the oppressed in the elementary classroom.  

Abstract: The Warehouse Project & Gallery, located in Summit, IL, just outside the City of Chicago, works with youth to deliver positive social change. For the past 6 years, our teaching artists have used Theatre of the Oppressed techniques to inspire young people to confront issues of justice and equity within their lives. Recently, TWPG has been invited to partner with a local elementary school to bring theatre, especially TO practices, into the classroom.  Teaching Artists are devising a 12 week curriculum guided by common core and social emotional learning practices infused with Boal’s techniques to empower students to use their voices as experts in their own stories and inspire change in those around them.  Teaching Artist will bring to life their curriculum, planning and implementation techniques and share successes and challenges during this 90 minute workshop.   

Challenging Questions
1. How do Theatre of the Oppressed techniques work in an elementary school classroom?
2. Does Theatre of the Oppressed enhance learning and understanding of academic concepts?
3. How is Theatre of the Oppressed used to enhance social/emotional learning and build empathy?
 

Speakers
MS

Meredith Schilsky

Chief Creative Director, The Warehouse Project & Gallery
Meredith Schilsky is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the Chief Creative Director at The Warehouse Project & Gallery a non-profit organization that works with youth to deliver positive social change through the arts.  Combining her passion for theatre and social change, Meredith... Read More →


Saturday June 15, 2019 1:30pm - 3:00pm MDT
Wolf Den 005 (Lower Level) 2200 Bonforte Blvd, Pueblo, CO 81001, USA

5:00pm MDT

Affinity Group Magic: Cultivating Care and Transformation Within Our Community Spaces
Limited Capacity seats available

Program Description: In this experiential, youth-led session, begin work that is truly “for the people, by the people” by playing and practicing For Youth Inquiry’s strategies for creating care filled affinity spaces! 

Abstract: Affinity groups are magic.

TO originated in one particular context, intended to support the organizing of one specific community. Though many folks adapt and apply TO tools in various ways today, including partnering with and training up communities that are not strictly our own, there is a particular potency -- and indeed, magic-- to work that is truly “for the people, by the people.”

How - and when - might we build community specifically with people who share our own salient identities? How might we first infuse such a process with breath and shared language, in service of creating a container for community care? What ideas and creative solutions spring forth then?

In this hands-on, youth-led session, play through some of participatory theatre company For Youth Inquiry (FYI)’s strategies for creating affinity spaces steeped in care. FYI’s 4 Ps Pedagogy - Pleasure, Perspective, Power, and Practice - will frame the experiential exploration. Then, the session will focus on techniques practiced in our current play-in-process, which centers the stories, desires, and dreams of trans and gender nonconforming (TGNC) young people of color. We also ask, what do authentic (and theatrical) invitations -- for support or solidarity-- of cis people, or white folks, look like? Participants will also have the opportunity to draw ties to their own communities and work.

Join us to practice fresh ways to build people power and care for ourselves and our communities. 

Challenging Questions
1. When and why might we form affinity groups? What use do they have to our theatre making, our organizing, the movement?

2. How might we craft and sustain community care?

3. What do authentic invitations (ie. for support or solidarity) to/ward folks outside of our affinity groups look like? How might we make these invitations both theatrical and useful? 

 

Speakers
avatar for Alyssa Vera Ramos

Alyssa Vera Ramos

Artistic Director, For Youth Inquiry (FYI) Performance Company at Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health
I'm a Chicago-based theatre artist, cultural organizer, and facilitator. I am the Artistic Director of For Youth Inquiry (FYI) Performance Company, housed at reproductive justice, youth-serving org, ICAH. I also support and collaborate with youth organizers as Arts Justice Organizer... Read More →


Saturday June 15, 2019 5:00pm - 6:30pm MDT
Cottonwood 217 (Upper Level) 2200 Bonforte Blvd, Pueblo, CO 81001, USA
 
Sunday, June 16
 

9:00am MDT

MyVOYCE Creative Expression Performance and Workshop
Limited Capacity seats available

Program Description: My VOYCE Creative Expression is an opportunity to create history with perspective in order to provide a full picture in many voices. 

Abstract: It's all about context. Fighting for justice, no matter the category (racial, economic, social, etc.) is about telling the full story. Or, in other words, it is about telling the truth. The journey to truth is a long and daunting one. But what one learns along the way, and what one is able to then teach, proves to be an invaluable lesson.

Truth telling lies in history with perspective, considering accounts that may not seem academic or research-based. It considers poetry, painting, movies, plays, songs, etc., works of an era that provide a picture in living color, speaking to the soul as well as the mind.

It is with similar performances, and in this workshop, that the ‘My VOYCE’ students of Manual High School will teach their participants to tell the full story, the ones with joy, pain, faith, despair, and perspective. These students will have just undergone a semester of building the framework to speak for themselves and their community through creative expression. Therefore, the three-hour session will begin with their stories, and end with the stories of the participants outlined through example, guidance, and empowerment.

Challenging Questions
1. What is history from your perspective?
2. If you were to tell your story, who would be your audience?
3. If you had the platform, would you speak; and if so, how? 

Speakers
KJ

Kerrie Joy

Project VOYCE
I am a performance poet and public speaker committed to using my platform to shed light on systemic injustice while empowering oppressed and marginalized communities. I can not speak for an entire community but I strive to insert an often silenced voice through creativity and expression... Read More →


Sunday June 16, 2019 9:00am - 10:30am MDT
Chameleon 004 (Lower Level) 2200 Bonforte Blvd, Pueblo, CO 81001, USA

9:00am MDT

The Hunter-Gatherer and the Farmer: A Forum Theatre Exercise
Limited Capacity seats available

Program Description: A forum theatre exercise: An early hunter-gatherer reaches for an apple that, unbeknownst to her, was grown by a farmer, who perceives it as his property.  Who is oppressing whom? 

Abstract: For well over 95% of our history as a species, we were hunter-gatherers with very little conception of property. Then came agriculture and those who labored on the land felt entitled to the fruits of that labor. In this forum theatre exercise, an early hunter-gatherer reaches for an apple he doesn’t realize was grown by a farmer who perceives it as his property. The farmer objects and with his “No,” the seeds of capitalism enter the stage of world history.  We will re-enact this world-forming scene, perhaps the most important interaction in the history of our species, as a forum-theatre exercise.  We'll explore many questions, amongst them:

1. The two characters are competing for a scarce resource: the apple. If one gets it, s/he wins, and the other does not, and loses. What possibilities are there for win-win, non-oppressive solutions to the dilemma? How could we use TO to develop those resolutions collectively and collaboratively?
2. Often in forum theatre exercises, it’s clear who the oppressor and oppressed are. But perhaps the question of who the oppressor is in this case is the central and abiding question of our world, even today: is the farmer oppressing the hunter-gatherer by withholding the apple, or is the hunter-gatherer oppressing the farmer by taking what is rightfully his? Is the farmer a proto-bourgeoisie exploiting the pro-proletarian hunter-gatherer by denying him the means of his sustenance, enclosing the commons of the pre-agricultural world or is the hunter-gatherer the proto-bourgeoisie exploiting the proto-proletarian farmer, denying him compensation for his labor?
3.    Generally, how can we use TO to explore situations in which the question "Who is the oppressor here?" is on the table? 

Challenging Questions
1. How can we use TO to explore situations in which the question "Who is the oppressor here?" is on the table?
2. How can TO help us resolve situations of competition and scarcity?
3. How do we most effectively guide TO participants to develop their own solutions to scenes of oppression? 

Speakers
KB

Ken Burak

Professor of Philosophy, Northampton Community College
I have been teaching Philosophy from a liberatory and social justice perspective for over twenty years and my work has been heavily influenced, in content and form, by the traditions of Friere and Boal.  My PhD dissertation title was "Logic and Resistance: Reading Hegel in the Age... Read More →


Sunday June 16, 2019 9:00am - 10:30am MDT
Great Plains 006a/b (Lower Level) 2200 Bonforte Blvd, Pueblo, CO 81001, USA