“The process of community development can be seen as the ultimate act of public creativity.”
Lisa Jo Epstein, Ph.D. Executive & Artistic Director, Just Act
Just Act’s commitment to social justice honors the importance of identifying all forms of social oppression (personal, systemic and societal). We recognize that experiences of prejudice and discrimination are a social reality. Whether covert or overt, intentional or unintentional, these experiences create real barriers that may limit access and opportunities in local communities, as well as prevent the active participation of every community member.
Via invitations of community development corporations (CDC’s) and civic/neighborhood leaders, Just Act’s community-based engagement programming facilitates building connections to grow resident power to affect community change.
This process is guided by our expertise in story circles, story harvesting & analysis, Theatre of the Oppressed, and Just Act’s unique performance “gift-back” technique highlighting residents’ ideas, emotions and voices.
Email us today if you’d like to collaborate with us! firstname.lastname@example.org
“Restore*Reimagine*Rebuild Rivera & Mann Centers”
Resident Story Engagement Team (the SET)
What we provide:
Our theatre, arts and community-based cultural organizing model is situated in the national field of arts organizations committed to creative community-led place-keeping as form of urban restoration, both physical and psychic. With decades of professional and community-based theatre experience, Just Act purposefully directs our multi-dimensional expertise into being a catalyst for, and animator of cross-sector groups to activate their own creativity for making change.
Collaborations start with conversations with our partners, then we strategically design supportive, motivational gatherings for brave and meaningful public conversations to overcome social and civic fragmentation, shifting ways of interacting and thinking about renewing personal and community vitality, development as well as activism.
Our model is anchored by community members who we train to facilitate a creative, public process for bridge-building between the way residents emotionally experience where they live, and how developers and city stakeholders reflect on a neighborhood’s status.
Just Act’s engagement process is an art product unto itself. Rooted in residents’ own stories, our model supports neighbors to shift the narratives about who they are and where they live, and bring forward their truths as vital to community development. It is a creative, public process for bridge-building between the way residents emotionally experience where they live, and how developers and city stakeholders reflect on a neighborhood’s status.
Putting the human heart into an equity-centered toolkit for planning and place keeping.
what is resident-driven cultural organizing:
Just Act fosters an art-powered process of Story Circles and theatrical “Gift-backs” to center residents’ emotional experiences with their physical environment in decision-making spaces alongside developers and city stakeholders. This process elevates community voices, empowering residents to shape engagement strategies from ideation to actualization. Utilizing anti-oppressive facilitation methods, Story Circles invite participants to radically reimagine systems and possibilities for a more connected, supported neighborhood through intergenerational programming. Resident-driven cultural organizing leverages the existing artistic and creative assets of local residents and their cultures and integrates these resources into activism to co-create ideas for community building that everyone can champion.
We catalyze resident-led, community conversation and radical imagination that transforms personal and collective thinking about what real change entails, and support development of action items to reach it.
Restore*Reimagine*Rebuild Rivera Rec & Mann Center (2019-2022)
Art-Powered Places (2017)
This is Germantown Heart & Soul (2016)
Just Act’s Community-BASED Engagement
Putting the human heart back into the toolkit of community planning and place-based EQUITABLE development
Just Act’s Methods for Community-BASED Engagement
- Community Action Teams
- Community Connector Network & Asset Mapping
- J.E.D.I. Training Workshops (Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion)
- Forum Theatre Events created & performed by community groups
- Story Circles & Story Interviews
- Story Engagement Teams
- Theatrical story “Gift-backs”
- Word Plants & Vision Trees
“The space we’ve created in the Art Powered Places process with Just Act has allowed people to reveal their earnest observations of the neighborhood and its people and has given us more deeply relevant knowledge of the challenges we face as we work to grow wellness in our communities. ”
Just Act's Annual Forum Theatre Intensive
2021 Dates for Online Training Forthcoming
Click Here to Register
DATES: 2021 Dates and Details TBA
COST: $485 (limited financial aid based on need available. Email us to learn more)
$50 registration fee (non-refundable after May 10)
$485 Full amount
Just Act's Forum Theatre Training is geared towards individuals seeking facilitation skills and training in Forum Theatre--including devising techniques- to improve their ability to effectively engage justice, equity, diversity & inclusion issues, and using interactive theatre as a tool for social change, interpersonal and community repair, from activist and organizers to educators, social workers and facilitators of all kinds.
Just Act T.O. Institute ADVANCED JOKER TRAINING 1
Sequencing & Facilitating TO games-ercises within an anti-oppression framework
COST: $285 (limited financial aid based on need available. Email us to learn more)
$50 registration fee (non-refundable after)
$285 Full amount
Just Act T.O. Institute ADVANCED JOKER TRAINING 2
ADVANCED JOKER TRAINING 2:
In-depth Forum Theatre Joker Training, from guiding a devising process for participants' personal growth & development of Forum Theatre pieces, to facilitation practice & coaching
DATES: August 2-4, 9am-5pm
WHERE: Just Act Studio, 6139 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia PA
COST: $285 (limited financial aid based on need available. Email us to learn more)
REGISTRATION OPTIONS for Advance Joker Training 2:
$50 registration fee (non-refundable after June 26)
$285 Full amount for either Joker Training 1 or 2
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: April 26, 2019
$520 SPECIAL DISCOUNT if you want to take both Joker Trainings
To register, Click below!
Just Act Go Vote 2.0 Forum Theatre Tour
JUST ACT, GO VOTE 2.0, A Forum Theatre Voter Education Campaign
Want to transform cynicism, discouragement & despair into creative forward-thinking action? Then host a Just Act, Go Vote event or residency!
What is Just Act Go Vote 2.0?
It is a non-partisan voter education campaign using interactive Forum Theatre to raise awareness about why many people don’t vote, create space to practice new strategies for engaging in difficult conflicts with people who don’t consider voting as vital to keeping democracy alive. AND, we will register new voters and help them make a plan for voting.
Voting is an urgent civic and personal issue. Choosing to vote or not vote is more than just a personal preference. For residents who aren’t deeply involved in community activism, how our government functions and why voting matters are abstract, complex concepts. Knowledge from high school civics classes, if one even had them, are but a vague notion from the past.
The result is that the impact of not voting and the decimation of citizen power doesn’t consciously register in our minds.
Traditional ‘Get out the Vote’ campaigns are all about facts, figures and reaching as many people as possible through door knocking, flyering (real and virtual), and phone/text banking. Such approaches do little to amplify residents’ experiences with disenfranchisement by the system of voting, and how the government—local or national—is impacting their lives.
Just Act, Go Vote makes voting relevant and compelling in the present moment.
What will Just Act, Go Vote do:
- Bring generalized concepts of government to the intimate scale of everyday life.
- Engage, educate and motivate residents to vote.
- Increase citizen participation in voting.
- Inspire collective demand for racial, economic & political equity.
- Cultivate and revive interest in voting across generations.
Just Act, Go Vote 2.0 will be a second iteration of the original Forum Theatre tour that Just Act created in the fall of 2018 to grow voter awareness amongst young people and register new voters.
We have witnessed how Just Act, Go Vote grows the number of people who feel compelled to vote because they now understand their relationship to voting.
While voting and candidate information might be publically shared, the data and analysis around voting is not effective in propelling people to the polls.
By increasing knowledge and understanding of how government systems work, we can increase citizen participation in voting and inspire collective demand for racial, economic, and political equity.
What is Forum Theatre?
Forum Theatre is a structured interactive theatrical improvisation based directly on a group’s own stories of conflict. Audience members are called “Spect-Actors” and are given the responsibility of acting on injustices that they see in the characters’ relationships. To do so, they are invited to jump into the improvisation, and try out different strategies to productively tackle the conflicts in play. Forum Theatre enables participants to theatrically reflect on their social position and debate concrete actions that each person can take outside of the performance itself when they find themselves in similar conflicts.. In doing so, the Forum offers a rehearsal for reality, renewing and deepening our capacity to stand up more effectively for justice on personal and inter-group levels.
“My commitment to supporting local businesses was deepened as I envisioned, with neighbors, the potential of the business district and what we would want to see on Germantown Avenue.”
“This is Germantown Heart & Soul put a human side to commercial and community development. It was engaging and made it personal and meaningful to me because part of it was about me, about us!”