Political Theatre: A Global Series
A four-week series for theatremakers exploring practical tools to create political theatre, facilitated by practitioners around the world.
Supported by Unity Theatre Trust.
About this event
WORKSHOP 1, 24 NOVEMBER 2021
In The Theatre We Are Free with Nico Vaccari (Co-Artistic Director of British-Romanian political theatre collective BÉZNĂ Theatre) will introduce participants to essential devices and techniques Nico uses as part of his directing methodology. These are inspired by his personal interpretation and experience of the works of Bertolt Brecht, Erwin Piscator, Augusto Boal, the deep investigative research model of the International State Crime Initiative and 8 years working in the Romanian political theatre scene.
The session will cover: approaching a text anti-classically, the actor as witness / the witness as actor, the audience as jury / the jury as audience, historicisation and literarisation, intellectual montage on stage (a new device Nico is developing with BÉZNĂ), and song as devices for political theatre-making.
With In The Theatre We Are Free, Nico hopes to inspire participants on how theatre can be used as a tool for emancipation, empowerment and resistance.
WORKSHOP 2, 1 DECEMBER 2021
You Can’t Say That is a political satire workshop with Jo Kukathas, Artistic Director of Malaysian theatre company Instant Café Theatre. From its inception in 1989, Instant Café Theatre used comedy, mockery and tomfoolery to express political and social opinions. ICT commented on everything from corruption to discrimination to religious fundamentalism by creating satirical songs, comic sketches, sly silly antics with a veritable rogue’s gallery of colourful Malaysian characters. This political satire was both loved and loathed. While some said “ini bukan budaya kita” – this is not our culture – others defended it. Strangely, in its early days ICT was often invited to perform by the very government it lampooned and this push-me pull-you relationship of the State, art and artists will form the basis of this three-hour workshop.
The session will look at the blurring of lines, of how political theatre can get co-opted, how it is both powerful and powerless but how it is nevertheless important and necessary to play the role of fools and clowns when speaking truth to power.
WORKSHOP 3, 8 DECEMBER 2021
What We Talk About When We Talk About Political Theatre is a workshop with Luisa Pardo and Lázaro Gabino Rodríguez, co-directors of Mexican theatre company Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol, to open up a space to think about performance practices that draw from reality and politics.
The session will cover some key questions: What does political theatre aspire to? How does the bulk of political theatre production operate today? Why do we do it and for whom? What do we want and what can be achieved? What do we want our audiences to take away? What is the difference between art and activism? What are the ethical challenges that arise when working with reality? Is having good intentions enough?
WORKSHOP 4, 15 DECEMBER 2021
The final workshop opens a space for participants to reflect on their learning over the last weeks and to discuss risks and protection for artists engaging in politically risky work.
Papergang Theatre and Global Voices Theatre are embarking on a collaborative research project to improve their understanding of this area. We aim to cover a range of issues from how theatre organisations can resist the hostile environment to digital security, artist pseudonyms and how to take credit for your work if you’ve been advised not to put your name on it for safety reasons. This hour-long session will cover introduction to the conversation, and an opportunity to respond to a survey conducted through the app Signal.
This session is for artists who feel they may face disadvantageous consequences for making the work they want to make due the political climate they operate in. This includes early-career artists who may be making their first steps towards making work of this nature. There will be time after the session to reflect and feedback on the rest of the learning over the last weeks.
Book via Eventbrite here.
Nico Vaccari is a theatre director, playwright and activist. He trained in Theatre Directing at Drama Centre London and co-founded BÉZNĂ Theatre in 2013. His work with BÉZNĂ has investigated the destructive impact of unfettered capitalism and mass-privatisation in post-communist Europe (CRIME), the relationship between interrogation techniques [war], hardcore heterosexual pornography [entertainment] and interpersonal relationships [love] (CUNTHATE [ URĂ ]), patriarchal violence and femicide in Romania (112) and the relationship between capitalism, consumer apathy and the climate crisis (VINOVAT,-Ă). Nico’s production CRIME won special jury prize for best play and best male actor at the FIST festival in Suceava, Romania.
Jo Kukathas is an actor, writer, dramaturg and director and co-founder/Artistic Director of Instant Café Theatre Company, Malaysia (1989) best known for its political satire, its FIRSTWoRKS new play program and theatre reflecting Malaysia’s diverse ethnic, linguistic, religious, migratory composition. She has run arts spaces, produced/curated festivals, staged productions and toured and/or worked in Singapore, Brazil, Taiwan, Japan, Australia and Indonesia. She believes in the need for a more egalitarian, empathetic society. She is an API Fellow (Asian Public Intellectual) and DDS Fellow (De La Salle Democracy Discourse) and also YBeeee, the fictional Deputy Minister of Moral Panic.
Founded by Luisa Pardo and Lázaro Gabino Rodríguez in 2003, Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol is a Mexican theater company reflecting the new dynamics of contemporary Mexican culture. They develop their multimedia stage productions as mechanisms to link work and life and give voice to overlooked moments in social and political history. Lagartijas has presented work throughout the Mexican Republic and overseas at venues including Schaubuhne in Berlin, Cena Contemporánea in Brasilia, FIBA in Beunos Aires, CASA Latin American Theatre Festival at the Barbican and Rich Mix in London. They have received awards from the Impatience Festival and the Zürcher Theater Spektakel.
Kim Pearce is the Co-Artistic Director of Papergang Theatre and an activist, working across a range of disciplines including new writing, dance and video games. Credits include Freedom Hi 自由閪, Invisible Harmony 无形的和谐, Tiananmen30, Forgotten 遗忘. She co-programmed the XR:Decolonise, Decarbonise programme at VAULT 2020. Kim has been a dedicated ally to the BESEA theatre sector since first working with Daniel York Loh, Lucy Chau Lai-Tuen and Jennifer Lim in 2014.
Who is this course for?
Writers, directors, actors and theatre makers of all experiences, who are interested in or who engage in political theatre, and wish to discuss and learn practical tools to speak truth to power.
Due to the sensitive nature of topics to be explored in this course, participants must be aged 18 or over.
When will the workshops be?
Workshop 1: 24 November 2021
Workshop 2: 1 December 2021
Workshop 3: 8 December 2021
Workshop 4: 15 December 2021
All workshops will take place 1pm-4pm GMT, via Zoom with live captioning.
How much does it cost?
One of the foundations of the Anti-School is a commitment to open access for all – and this includes the removal of financial barriers. Therefore places are offered on the basis of ‘Pay What You Can’.
According to UK/US industry standards, a place on a four-week course similar to this would ordinarily cost 80 GBP / 111 USD. Single sessions would cost 20 GBP / 28 USD.
We ask that prospective participants offer a fee that honestly reflects their ability to pay (considering their average yearly income, social barriers to access and current circumstances). All fees will contribute to the fair pay of our artists, and future Anti-School initiatives.
All of the sessions will be live captioned via Zoom.
Participants will receive a welcome email where they can detail any individual access needs. If you would like to discuss this before booking a ticket, please contact email@example.com
Please note: because of the limited number of places on this course, participants must ensure that they are available for the session they book for.
Book via Eventbrite here.