T.O. Philly 2011 Scholarship

Jana Sanskriti performing in India

Our 2011 scholarship recipient was Prachi Miurarka, an Indian-American woman who was born in Ahmedabad and raised in the Midwest. While growing up in Indiana, dance and culture were integral to her life, and she went on to study at Northwestern University. Prachi currently lives in California and applied for a T.O. Philly scholarship to attend a Forum Theatre workshop in Chicago, led by Sanjoy and Sima Ganguly from Jana Sanskriti, India's largest Theatre of the Oppressed movement. Prachi writes:
I started off college studying Social Policy, because I believed that top-down model was the best way I could effect social change.  Taking economic classes, sociology classes, and feminist classes quickly made me realize that real societal transformation could not be done from the top down—too much was at stake in preserving the status quo.  Instead, in my ethnic studies and gender studies classes, I began to learn how hip-hop, popular culture, and media could influence our mindsets and lead to gradual transformation.  With my yoga and meditation practice, I knew that individual consciousness had to be changed for greater societal change.  This is where arts and theatre came into play. 
Sanjoy Ganguly and Prachi Murarka in Chicago
During my visit to South Africa in 2008, I began to realize the enormous potential for arts to be effect social transformation and be integrated in community-building.  I was exposed to the various methods of VOICE and RESISTANCE and EMBODIMENT of liberation.  I began to see art as a courageous process that actually mirrored what we wanted in society.  I saw it as the heart of transformation, and I intuitively felt called to theatre as a form. 
For my Senior Project at Northwestern University, I began to use Theatre of the Oppressed techniques, writing, and meditation to address diasporic violence.  How could communities that fed into and bought dominant narratives reclaim their stories and transform their lives-reclaiming agency?  Using Audre Lorde's notion of the erotic, I worked at creating safe spaces that would allow healing to occur through the arts in a 3-step process: individual reclamation, group sharing and transformation, and finally, public release. 
Sima Ganguly of Jana Sanskriti
In my current work, I plan to use Theatre of the Oppressed techniques with Siren Theatre's Janaki Project.  Using pre-existing (self-created) scripts to examine reproductive rights, domestic violence, sexual violence, and ecological terrorism, these workshops will highlight current issues facing Indian and Indian-American communities.  We will ask Participants will be asked to become active agents, problem-solving narratives and create their own solutions to systematically disengage from and transform histories of violence, victimization, misinformation, and violence.  I'm also integrating Theatre of the Oppressed with Yoga Therapy as a form of integrated somatic liberation. 
I am extremely grateful to Philadelphia Theatre of the Oppressed for their sponsorship during the Jana Sanskriti workshop in July 2011.  The workshop allowed me to connect with a great PTO community, learn Forum Theatre, and grow in my own political understanding.
—Prachi Murarka, December 2011

To inquire about scholarship opportunities, or anything else, contact us at "tophilly@gmail.com" or 215-730-0982.

Graphics for the Theatre of the Oppressed

All images here are available to anyone working with Theatre of the Oppressed. Please credit the artists and include a link to this page if using online. Some images below are print quality—click on one to see. For higher-res graphics, email us at "tophilly@gmail.com."

Philadelphia Theatre of the Oppressed has held public events since 2008. Some of these focus on particular Theatre of the Oppressed techniques (like Games or The Rainbow of Desire), while others target specific issues (like gender, gentrification, and undoing racism). Our mission is to make Theatre of the Oppressed ("T.O." for short) accessible and affordable to people by offering short workshops for a sliding scale tuition. In doing this work we look to the network of other social justice groups who have laid the foundation for how this work gets done. The international Theatre of the Oppressed community has been very supportive in sharing its experiences, and now we'd like to give something back: graphics.

For all T.O. Philly events we print a flyer featuring images by visual artists from around the world. Some of these images come from Reproduce & Revolt (a.k.a. Reproduce Y Rebélate—the entire text is in both English and Spanish), a collection of copyright-free graphics, and other images are gathered with permission from the artists. T.O. Philly coordinator Morgan Andrews adapts these images, adding text to suit the material covered in various workshops. Here we offer we offer a growing collection of these images so that other people using Theatre of the Oppressed can have a bank of graphics that can support this work. Reproduce! Multiplicate! Enjoy!

Top: "Games for Actors and Non-Actors" flyer using Josh MacPhee's image, "Many Hands for Human Need." Above right: "Unpacking Race" flyer using a drawing by Florencia Vespignani. Artwork in both images courtesy of Reproduce & Revolt.

"Theatre of the Oppressed"
Graphic by Morgan Andrews
Philadelphia Theatre of the Oppressed
"Image Theatre"
Graphic by Clifford Harper (London, England)
Courtesy of Reproduce & Revolt

"Forum Theatre" (a.k.a. "Nothing of Importance to the People is Decided in Ballot Boxes"). Original graphic by Florencia Vespignani (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Courtesy of Reproduce & Revolt

"Shedding light on the situations around us"
Other variation on Florencia Vespignani's image

"RIFTS: What Divides Us, What Unites Us"
Adapted from art by
 Rini Templeton 
Courtesy of Reproduce & Revolt

"Images of Transition"

Adapted from a stencil by Josh MacPhee (Brooklyn, New York)
Courtesy of Reproduce and Revolt 
"Justice Theater"
Graphic by Elizabeth Brady (Baltimore, Maryland)
Courtesy of United Workers
"Cop in the Head"
Graphic by Morgan Andrews
Philadelphia Theatre of the Oppressed

Graphic by Morgan AndrewsPhiladelphia Theatre of the Oppressed
"The Rainbow of Desire" (a.k.a. "Arte Para Todos")
Original graphic by Josh MacPhee (Brooklyn, New York)
Courtesy of Just Seeds, used by permission

"Unpacking Race"
with images originally by Florencia Vespignani
Courtesy of Reproduce & Revolt

Graphic by Morgan Andrews
Philadelphia Theatre of the Oppressed

"Workshopping Gender"
Graphic by Morgan Andrews
Philadelphia Theatre of the Oppressed
Original images by Rini Templeton 
(Taos, New Mexico & Mexico City)
Courtesy of Reproduce & Revolt
"One Big Experiment"
Original drawing by Beth Nixon
"Gayer Panchali" ("Song of the Village")
Original graphic from Where We Stand
Courtesy of Jana Sanskriti, used by permission

"We Are All Funhouse Mirrors of Each Other"
Graphic by Morgan Andrews
Philadelphia Theatre of the Oppressed