Make Your Own Forum Theatre Ensemble
“What’s Goin’ On?”
Forum Theatre Production about gun violence & family
Real Change Chester, 2013
What we provide:
Just Act trains groups– from community organizations to universities– to become their own Forum Theatre Ensemble.
We teach you to create, then perform an interactive Forum Theatre play rooted in your lived experiences, which theatrically brings into play difficult issues of social injustice with which you want your community to pro-actively engage. Catalyze dialogue and strategize real actions plans for change with your community through Forum Theatre.
If you’d like to collaborate with us, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out some “make your Own” Forum Theatre projects
Length of training is customized to your organization’s needs and goals.
SURVIVOR: teen Voter Edition (2022)
Under Just Act’s direction, teens in the PA Youth Vote summer artistic activism program trained in devised theatre and Forum Theatre to create an interactive play about why teens don’t vote and to educate their peers about why they should vote. This is the second year that Just Act partnered with PA Youth Vote to support teens to dive beneath the surface of “get out the vote’ in order to understand teen attitudes towards voting, the root causes of these feelings and the purpose of voting.
Survivor: Teen Voter Edition was the theatrical result of four weeks of the teens learning about voting, identifying the personal and systemic barriers to why teens don’t vote, and the impact of oppressive policies on inter-personal relationships between teens. They also explored the relationship of voting to ongoing issues of social injustice about which they care deeply–mass shootings in schools, discrimination in education and climate change.
Supported by the Unstoppable Voters Fellowship from The Center for Artistic Activism.
Teens March on the Ballot Box (October 2022)
As a Center for Artistic Activism Unstoppable Voter Fellow, Just Act continued to support PAYV through November 2022 and the teachers in their Voter Champion network who were focused on registering teens in Philly public high schools. Despite teachers’ success in increasing the number of teens who were registered, they expressed dismay that they never knew if the teens actually voted. To address this challenge, Just Act created the idea of a teen March on the Ballot Box on Vote Early Day.
With the creation of this march, Just Act was able not only to support our PA Youth Vote partner with an artistic action that met their needs, but the teens’ needs as well for they were now supported to truly vote. The march took place on Friday Oct 28, with colorful signs, puppets and a drumline. Almost 200 teens –both newly registered and those who were too young–and their teachers paraded from LOVE Park to City Hall where the teens were escorted to the actual ballot box, voted and cheered on by their peers.
The first ever Teen March on the Ballot Box event was a nonpartisan collaboration between Just Act and PA Youth Vote, with the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office, the City Commissioners and Committee of Seventy.
How's Your voice gonna matter if you don't vote (2021)
How’s Your Voice Gonna Matter: Teens in the PA Youth Vote Summer Theatre Ensemble made their own Forum Theatre play about why teens don’t vote and how they are disenfranchised by the school system. The Forum ended with a call to action to audience members to help advocate for a school Voter Education and Registration policy.
When asked how this project has affected the teens’ views on politics and activism, Central High School student Rebecca Allen, explained:
“It has really shown me there’s different ways to be an activist, you know because I’ve always known there’s so many different ways to be an activist but then I’ve never actually stepped into that. I think this project pushed me out of my comfort zone–like improv that’s not my thing– but then to see how it worked with different ppl and see their excitement and see the way we were all excited about creating change in a different way than being at a rally or march, it really completely blew my mind.”
Six months after their Forum Theatre performance, the students and PA Youth Vote had another big win. On Feb 24, 2022, the School District of Philadelphia passed a landmark resolution to support registering 18 yr-olds to vote.
Check out these two videos documenting “How’s Your Voice Gonna Matter if You Don’t Vote.”
Supported in part by the Center for Artistic Activism’s Unstoppable Voters project. Read more about it here: https://c4aa.org/2021/08/hows-your-voice-gonna-matter-if-you-dont-vote-debut
Just Act, Go Vote (2018-2019)
What is Just Act, Go Vote: non-partisan voter education campaign using interactive Forum Theatre to promote voter awareness about systemic disenfranchisement and how this shows up in our everyday interactions and attitudes about voting.
"Count Me In" Ceiba Census Forum Theatre Project (2020)
“After experiencing Forum Theater, first from a creative side in trying to develop a piece, and then seeing it unfold in front of an audience, and watching the audience interact with the piece, I can say it’s a useful tool for addressing difficult conversations. The census -the subject of our forum theater piece- can be a scary thing to think about, and talk about. Especially in a community that already feels under attack by government and other entities. In developing the piece, I realized that even I, the supposed expert, didn’t know all I needed to know to provide truthful information to my community. Once we performed, it was easy to see the split in the audience, between the Champs and the Nope’s. By giving everyone a moment and space to air their concerns, we were able to empower our community members to better understand the census and the role it has in their lives. It would be harder to make that connection using a traditional information delivery like lectures, presentations, on flyers. By performing a Forum Theater piece, and also allowing them to participate in it, I feel confident the message will really stick with them!”–Marcos Lomeli, Program Director, Ceiba
Just Act, Go Vote at E3 (2019)
Just Act was invited to teach students at E3 to make their own iteration of “Just Act, Go Vote” to catalyze dialogue with their peers about voting, then register eligible students to vote.
"Education on the Run" (2017)
Just Act’s Jam on Justice, in partnership with Parents United and Our City Our Schools.
"Crit the Crit"--Tyler Contemporary, Critical Dialogues
“The Just Act workshop this fall at Tyler School of Art was a rare opportunity for the students to speak to the socio-political dynamics that touch every aspect of their experience at Tyler, but so rarely get talked about. Thanks to Lisa Jo’s skillful facilitation, a group of students who started out extremely hesitant to perform for each other in any way, let alone to perform the details of their real frustrations and setbacks at the University, transformed dramatically over the course of a few weeks. By the end of the workshop, the students were enthusiastically collaborating on their shared concerns. They managed to create an engaging work of theater for the audience at Temple Contemporary to grapple with. I think this work helped start conversations that need to be had at the school, especially around the culture of critique, and how much agency the students do and don’t have to get what they need both for their artwork and their mental and physical health.” –Netta Tea, graduate student, filmmaker, visual artist
"What's Goin' On?" Real Change Chester (2014)
An intergenerational group of residents created and performed a Forum Theatre about gun violence and family.
"Dealing with the Tough Stuff" (annually 2014-2019)
Annual Forum Theatre program at Temple University’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching. Undergraduate and graduate students do a short training to create then perform Forum Theatre plays on thorny issues identified by the Center as challenging for new Graduate Student Teaching Assistants (TA). Over the years, these Forums have addressed a wide range of topics, from facilitating a classroom discussion on immigration, to students on cell phones, even how to guide group work effectively.
"Unity with Community? Building Beloved Community through Public Interest Law," Drexel University
Drexel University, Orientation Leaders' Forum Theatre program
Drexel University student Orientation Leaders (OLs) trained in Forum Theatre and created several Forums about injustices that incoming first year students might face with other students, from religious intolerance to anti-black racism. Through their Forum Theatre plays which they themselves facilitated with the audiences, the OLs catalyzed important dialogue with over 2500 incoming students.
Power GRrls (2011)
Gas & Electric Arts was the name of our non-profit before Just Act. The teens of Power Grrls were funded by PYN and trained daily for 6 weeks with Dr. Lisa Jo and then performed several Forum Theatre pieces for their peers.
Act Out for Peace (2007)
Boys and Girls Club, Germantown
Make your own forum theatre ensemble
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
TAKE ACTION, ENGAGE with us!
- Become a Community Partner: Invite us to collaborate
- Become an individual donor: make tax deductible donation HERE
- Sponsor scholarships for community members to take Applied Theatre workshops
- Join our Board
“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 for Workshop Details
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!”
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