Hundreds of students, teachers, scholars, artists,
activists and organizers will be on the IUP
campus June 7–10 for the 2018 Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Conference.
Rachel DeSoto-Jackson, a faculty member in the Department
of Theater and Dance, is the 2018 conference chair and has been working with
Indiana and Pittsburgh communities to organize this event.
The conference, titled “Disrupting the Politics of
Place: Building Inclusive Communities for the Future,” will engage local
organizations and the international PTO community in a larger dialogue and
action centered on bridging existing divides based on geography, allocation of
resources, population identity, ideology, and politics in the western
Pennsylvania region—as well as in our global communities.
Unique to the conference is a special two-and-a-half-hour town
hall session dialogue on race and racism, on June 9 from 10:45 a.m. to 1:15
p.m. in Waller Hall. This event is free and open to the community.
It will be led by Rebecca Mwase, an artist, creative
consultant, producer, and cultural organizer; and S. Leigh Thompson, who has
worked the past 20 years with the Theatre of the Oppressed and also served as
an organizer, advocate, lobbyist, and campaign strategist for a number of other social
There will also be performances on June 8 and 9 at 8:00
p.m. in Waller Hall. Falconworks Theater Company, an award-winning,
community-based arts organization from the Brooklyn borough of New York City,
will perform Curious Fear and Hot and Cold; and 1Hood Media, a theater
group from Pittsburgh that works to raise awareness of social justice issues,
will perform Word.
These theater presentations are open to the community
and are included with the conference registration. Members of the local
community and IUP can take advantage of a special local registration rate of $30
for the conference.
Registrations for the conference are being taken on
the Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed website.
Among the guest speakers are Julian Boal, an international practitioner carrying on his
father’s work; Michelle King, an educator in Pittsburgh and learning
investigator; anupama jain, the executive director of the Pittsburgh
Gender Equity Commission; and Ricardo Vila-Roger, a teaching art and local actor.
The complete schedule can be found at the Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed website.
The annual conference, which takes place at locations
across the nation, began in 1995 and is organized by the Pedagogy and Theatre
of the Oppressed international organization, whose vision is to “support
a world based on radical love and social justice instead of oppression and
PTO supports those whose work challenges oppressive
systems by promoting critical thinking and social justice through liberatory
theater and popular education.
The PTO’s approaches stem from the theories and
practices of Paulo Freire and Augusto Boal to foster collaborative connections
to share, develop, promote, and document liberatory theater, popular education,
and other revolutionary actions. PTO serves as a resource for oppressed peoples
and their allies in diverse communities, contexts, and traditions around the