Two Upcoming Series

Philadelphia Theatre of the Oppressed offers several 2-or-3-part workshops this spring. Each mini-series is an interactive stand-alone curriculum focusing on a different theme. All workshops combine theatre games and techniques with discussion and take-home readings. Everyone of any background is welcome to attend, tuition is sliding-scale with work-trade and group discounts available upon request. Workshop descriptions and facilitator bios below.
Pre-register with an email to "tophilly@gmail.com", or call our NEW voicemail number: 267-282-1057.

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTIONS:

Mondays, April 21+28: 
LIVING IN COMMUNITIES
Facilitated by Julie Lipson
Two sessions, 6:30-9:00pm (5 hours total)
at the Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street
Tuition: $15-$35 sliding scale 
Many of us are constantly around others, and yet often feel alone. This two-part workshop provides the opportunity to explore what we look for in a community, what our roles are in community, and how we can build and sustain community with those around us. Through improv games and theatre techniques, we will dig deep into the dynamics of being roommates, neighbors, and even strangers to the people we encounter every day.

    Tuesdays, April 22-May 6
    THE COP & THE RAINBOW
    Facilitated by Morgan Andrews  
    Three sessions, 6:45-9:30pm (8 hours total)
    at the Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street
    Tuition: $25-$55 sliding scale
    In this workshop led by Morgan Andrews, we will build skills leading up to the Cop in the Head/Rainbow of Desire techniques devised by Theatre of the Oppressed founder Augusto Boal. Sometimes called "the Boal method of theatre and therapy", these techniques take all of our inhibitions and desires and put them on stage where we can deal them in the flesh. Over the course of three Tuesdays, this group will share, embody and unpack personal stories while asking important questions about the shared goals of personal growth and social change.

    ABOUT THE FACILITATORS:

    Julie Lipson is a songwriter and music therapist with a flair for orchestrating participatory concerts for musicians and non-musicians alike. In 2009 she co-founded Camp Aranu'tiq, a bi-coastal summer camp for transgender and gender-variant youth. She also organizes call-and-response Jewish chanting events in spaces all over Philadelphia. Julie holds an MA from Drexel University's Creative Arts Therapies Program and began working with T.O. Philly in 2011. Her craft is a vibrant and playful mixture of all of the above.

    Morgan Andrews jumped into artmaking and theatre-as-activism in the late 1990s. He helped start Philly's Puppet Uprising in 2000 and has organized street theatre protest-parades and pageants with a network of artist-activists all over the globe. Morgan discovered and trained in Theatre of the Oppressed in Brazil, New York and India, and then founded T.O. Philly in 2008 as a way to make this work accessible and affordable in his home city. He also teaches yoga and creates plays with the Medium Theatre Company.

    OTHER UPCOMING WORKSHOPS:
    • Seeing the Mask: Work-self vs. Home-self, Monday+Tuesday. May 12+13 with Erika Barrington and Amy Capomacchio
    • What is Justice? Wednesdays, May 21+28 with Mika Taliaferro
    Send us questions and registration requests via "tophilly@gmail.com", or leave a message at 267-282-1057.


    Spring 2014 Workshops

    One, Two and Three Session Series
    At The Rotunda 4014 Walnut Street
    See below for dates, times and descriptions.

    Philadelphia Theatre of the Oppressed (T.O. Philly for short) is excited to present a variety of sessions on an array of topics led by a team of 5 different facilitators. All of these workshops combine games, movement, sounds, images and discussion to critically examine social structures from various angles. This season we've arranged for workshops to happen on different weeknights to fit different schedules. The short list:

    • Monday, April 7, 7:00-9:00pm: Intro to Theatre of the Oppressed
    • Mondays, April 21+28, 6:30-9:00pm: Living in Communities
    • Tuesdays, April 22-May 6, 6:45-9:30pm: The Cop & The Rainbow
    • Monday+Tuesday. May 12+13, 6:30-9:00p: Seeing the Mask—Work-self vs. Home-self
    • Wednesdays, May 21+28, 6:30-9:00p: What is Justice?

    Full descriptions below. Pre-register with an email to "tophilly@gmail.com", or call our NEW voicemail number: 267-282-1057.

    We kick off with a stand-alone session from 7:00-9:00pm (2 hours total). It is free to attend

    • Monday, April 7: Intro to Theatre of the Oppressed. Led by the T.O. Philly Facilitation Team, this workshop will pack in the games, techniques and theories used by Theatre of the Oppressed practitioners all over the world. It will also be a chance to come and meet T.O. Philly's facilitators, sign up for subsequent workshops and talk with us about what we do. Tuition: Free, donations accepted. Pre-requisites: None.
    These next workshops span two sessions apiece from 6:30-9:00pm (each is 5 hours total). Each double session is $15-$35 sliding scale. Group discounts and work-trade are available on request:
    • Mondays, April 21+28: Living in Communities.  Led by Julie Lipson. 
      Many of us are constantly around others, and yet often feel alone. This two-part workshop provides the opportunity to explore what we look for in a community, what our roles are in community, and how we can build and sustain community with those around us. Through improv games and theatre techniques, we will dig deep into the dynamics of being roommates, neighbors, and even strangers to the people we encounter every day.
    • Monday+Tuesday. May 12+13: Seeing the Mask—Work-self vs. Home-self. Led by Amy Capomacchio and Erika Barrington.
      Do you ever feel like the person you are at work is not who you are at home? We all wear various hats and play a variety of roles in different areas of our lives, and this workshop explores that tension between our work-selves and home-selves by asking the following questions:
           ·  What societal pressures influence your work environment? 
           ·  Are the values of your workplace in conflict with your personal values?
           ·  When is it healthy to be able to play a role, and when is it inhibiting your ability to do your work or make systemic changes?
           ·  What is your relationship to the monetary compensation you receive for your work?
           ·  How does society dictate what masks we wear?
      Through Theater of the Oppressed techniques, participants will play with the sources and repercussions of these different masks and explore alternative strategies toward reconciling these different sides of self.
    • Wednesdays, May 21+28: What is Justice? Led by Mika Taliaferro.
      Theatre of the Oppressed was created to bring justice to people facing oppression in every facet of every society on earth.  This 2-part workshop explores that theme of justice from two angles:
           ·  Part One: What does "justice" mean? How do we define justice in our society? In our communities? Is the justice in "criminal justice" the same as that in "social justice"?
           ·  Part Two: What could "justice" mean? What does a world where justice has been achieved look like? How can we re-imagine our understanding of "justice" to support our vision of a just world?
    And then we have a working group that will begin with three weekly sessions, 6:45-9:30pm (eight hours total). Tuition for this is $25-$55, sliding scale, and prior experience with Theatre of the oppressed is recommended:
    • Tuesdays, April 22-May 6: The Cop & The Rainbow. In this weekly working group led by Morgan Andrews, we will utilize the Cop in the Head/Rainbow of Desire techniques. Sometimes called "the Boal method of theatre and therapy", this group will share, embody and unpack personal stories while asking important questions about the shared goals of personal growth and social change. 
    Pre-register for any of these workshops with an email to "tophilly@gmail.com", or call our NEW voicemail number: 267-282-1057.

    T.O. Philly News: Winter 2014

    2013 may have been the best year yet for Philadelphia Theatre of the Oppressed with many amazing facilitators sharing their expertise: Ariel Morales, Magda Scharf and Morgan Andrews unpacked race and unraveled religion, Qui Alexander workshopped gender, Julie Lipson and Mason Rosenthal helped us hone our voices, and Erika Barrington and Amy Capomacchio created a dialogue about the the relationship between therapeutic goals and the goals of social change in their workshop for mental health professionals, which they then brought to the American Dance Therapy Association's national conference in New York.  All in all it's been a year of powerful, wide-ranging and wide-reaching work.

    The question of therapeutic goals and the goals of social change is a good one.  Douglas Hundley raises the issue in his essay, "Theatre of the Oppressed: An American Tradition?" (Platform Vol. 1, No. 1, Autumn, 2006) where he writes about Augusto Boal's training in New York and how U.S. political and experimental theatre-makers during the Great Depression and Vietnam War helped shape the development of T.O. in South America.  Hundley concludes in saying that when Boal's work was brought back to North America, "the potentially subversive edge was gone and replaced with techniques for coping with society rather than changing society." (Hundley, 27).  This is something that T.O. Philly considers in the work that we do: workshops are often experiential and personally transformative, but they are only rehearsals for reality—real transformation can only come from taking action in the wider world.

    We also recognize that in Theatre of the Oppressed there is the "theatre" side and the "of the oppressed" side and that both are important, which is why we offer a spectrum of events for a spectrum of desires.  On the theatre of side of things this January, we are promoting a 3-day workshop with Donna Oblongata drawing on traditional puppetry techniques, Pochinko clown teaching, and the her own theatre company's method of creation and performance.  Mason Rosenthal and Morgan Andrews will also be staging their new play "Nobody's Home", which was devised in part using T.O. techniques.  See the T.O. Philly Calendar on the right side of this page for details.

    On the "of the oppressed" side, we are teaming up with Mariposa Co-op to present a month of anti-oppression events, including a Theatre of the Oppressed workshop on January 11th.  We are also working with Temple University's Institute on Disabilities, Bryn Mawr College's Education Program, and Haverford College's Student Leadership Office to bring anti-oppression pedagogy to students and faculty working both on and off-campus. More details soon!

    Photos are from our Images of Transition workshop in December of 2013. The images above depict views on the mental health care system.

    Status Roadmap

    Status Map made by a dozen people at the Images of Transition workshop on 25 November, 2013.
    This mapping activity explores transitions and how changes in our lives affect status. It can be done around a specific theme or multiple themes, as an exercise for one person or for an entire group. Below are instructions for doing this activity with a group around a chosen theme:

    Materials:
    • Colored index cards or paper to write on
    • Colored markers, pencils or crayons to write with
    • Colored tape (such as theatrical spike tape) or yarn to map with
    • A wall with 4 signs on it: "Higher Status" at the top, "Lower Status" at the bottom, "Long Ago" on the left, "Today" on the right
    Each person does the following:
    1. To make your path distinctive, choose one color to write on, one color to write with, and one color to map with.
    2. Think of a transition around the given theme—something that you, or someone close to you, have gone through. What were the significant moments, incidents and sitautions along that path of transition?
    3. Write down each of these events on separate index cards.  Put them in chronological order.
    4. Use the tape to map your transition on the wall:  The X-axis is time, the Y-Axis is status. Decide what the relative status for your first event is and if that goes up or down for the next. Use the tape or yarn to link these events as you map them sequentially on the wall.
    Discussion: Once everyone has contributed to the map, step back and look at it. What do you notice? What is the relationship between status and time? Where are the biggest concentrations of cards? Do people's transitions follow similar pats? What sorts of things are marked as higher or lower status? What are some recurring themes?

    Variations: One person can do this exercise by picking a handful of transitions that they have gone through, each with a different theme. Do it on a piece of paper using a different color marker for each theme. Begin with the theme of aging—What are some significant events that have marked your age and how did they affect your status? What else can you map? Some other themes could be ability/disability, class/finances, education/work, faith/culture, language/geography, relationship/marital status, and so on.

    IMAGES OF TRANSITION:
    a two-part Theatre of the Oppressed workshop


    ★ WORKSHOP CLOSED ★
    2 Session in Nov/Dec 2013
    Facilitated by Morgan Andrews
    at the Rotunda • 4014 Walnut Street
    Tuition: $15-$35 sliding scale
    Register at "tophilly@gmail.com"

    Theatre of the Oppressed uses group games and techniques to dramatize our world as it is, and then create models for how we’d like it to be.

    This 2-part workshop, which we ran on two separate occasions in November and December of 2013, focused on transition—both in our society and in ourselves—and how these transitions relate to shifts in power, privilege, oppression and liberation. Some such transitions could include:
    • A person who develops and adapts to a disability.
    • A child becoming an adult, then a parent, and then a grandparent.
    • A family whose economic status changes with time and circumstances.
    • A neighborhood being built, populated, abandoned, and repopulated.
    • A person whose sexual and/or gender identities go through shifts.
    • A person or group who undergo changes in faith and/or culture.
    • An individual whose identity is perceived differently depending on what group that person is associating with, or by the work they do.
    Participants found common ground through sharing and enacting stories, then the group reshaped these scenarios into new possibilities.  On the days between the two sessions, we had some take-home assignments to deepen and support our work as a group.  These included:

    We also developed a popular education technique called the Status Roadmap, which uses index card to show the ups and down that transitions bring us over time.

    These session were also used to develop ideas for a workshop with Temple University's Institute on Disabilaties in March of 2014.