A night at the theatre can elicit fits of laughter and bring audiences to tears, but can it also serve as a tool for promoting social and political change?
In a week of workshops and talks hosted at Brock this month, international director David Psalmon will blur the lines between actor and spectator as he explores unique performance-based problem-solving solutions to social justice issues.
Born in France, Psalmon currently resides in Mexico where he is the director, producer, editor and founder of the multi-awarded theatre company Teatro sin Paredes (Theatre Without Walls).
Brock Associate Professor David Fancy said Psalmon’s years of experience teaching and directing performances around the world will make him a “rich addition to this year’s Walker Cultural Leaders Series at Brock.”
“Psalmon is a real self-starter who moved from France to Mexico 15 years ago and now runs one of the largest theatre companies in the country,” said Fancy. “He is committed to theatre as a means of vibrant social engagement, and always takes the broadest possible view when undertaking his theatre productions.”
Psalmon’s Theatre Without Walls project has been utilizing Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed methodology since 2001, with the audience and actors working together to perform scenes that tackle a diverse array of social issues such as gender violence, discrimination and racism, and workplace violence. In these workshops, the actors present a problem that needs to be solved and then work collaboratively with the audience to improvise and alter the scene to act out potential scenarios that could address the problem at hand.
Psalmon will discuss this methodology and his experience working for theatre companies worldwide at a public lecture on Thursday, Jan. 10 at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. He will also spend two days leading immersive workshops for Brock Dramatic Arts students, where he will explore collaborative theatre-making practices that Fancy said will be extremely beneficial to students honing their craft.
“Psalmon’s theatre company runs on a collective basis — meaning all members of the company create their theatre productions collaboratively — and allowing our Brock students to see the success of his power-sharing collaborative model will inspire them to create theatre in new ways,” Fancy said.
The Walker Cultural Leaders Series brings leading artists, performers, practitioners and academics to Brock’s MIWSFPA.
The sessions, which are generously funded by Marilyn I. Walker, celebrate professional achievement, artistic endeavour and the indelible role of culture in society.
All of the events are free and open to both students and the broader community. The series offers unique opportunities for the public to experience the work of leading international artists and students to work closely with experts in their fields.
David Psalmon presents: Towards a Contemporary Political Theatre
Public lecture, Thursday, Jan. 10 at 7 p.m.
Marilyn I. Walker Theatre, MIWSFPA
Workshop for Dramatic Arts students:
Saturday, Jan. 12 and Sunday, Jan. 13
11 a.m. to 4 p.m., MIWSFPA
Learn more about the Walker Cultural Leaders Series on the MIWSFPA Website.