Theatre of the Oppressed NYC
Program: Access to Arts
Area of Work: Arts
Grant Purpose: Forum Theatre Troupes
Theatre of the Oppressed NYC (TONYC) partners with communities confronting oppression to inspire transformative action through interactive theatre. Working with direct service organizations, TONYC creates Forum Theatre Troupes, in which community members devise and perform plays based on their real-life experiences confronting systematic oppression. After each performance, audience members are invited onstage to improvise potential alternative responses to the issues presented on stage; collectively brainstorming creative change on the individual, community, and political levels.
Purpose: To support their Forum Theatre Troupes.
Through the Forum Theatre Troupes, over 125 individuals will be paid for their time developing and presenting original plays about their own experiences of systemic oppression; culminating in 20-25 performances throughout New York City. Previous plays have addressed issues including homelessness, police violence, and the school to prison pipeline. Partner organizations include the Ali Forney Center, Housing Works, the Red Hook Community Justice Center, and Neighbors in Action, amongst others.
Funding from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund has helped TONYC navigate a rapidly changing world and COVID-19 related closures. Through this period, TONYC has been able to continue supporting their community of actors and facilitators, and develop innovative methods for creating and presenting Forum Theatre online.