How To End Poverty in 60 Minutes

at LSU February 2014

 

This performance workshop is the next iteration in an ongoing national project from Sojourn Theatre that began in Chicago at Northwestern University and will soon be seen in Washington DC.

 

This is not a play; it is not a lecture; it is not an interactive workshop; it is not a physical theatre piece; it is not a public conversation. Sojourn Theatre’s How to End Poverty in 60 Minutes at LSU is all of these things. Most significantly, it’s an opportunity to challenge a different audience every show with the question: how do you attack the problem of poverty in America? Over the course of 60 minutes, the audience will listen, explore and ultimately choose how to spend the performance’s box office donations that will be sitting onstage in cash. It is an experiment in dialogue, in collective decision-making, in shared responsibility and in the potential for art to help us make our world a better place. Spectacularly eclectic in form, often delightful and occasionally uncomfortable, How to End Poverty will engage student and Baton Rouge-area audiences alongside community experts. Come spend with us.

 

Sojourn artists visited campus in October 2013 and since then have mentored LSU students and faculty in four main areas in preparation for the February developmental period and performance workshop: Community partnerships, facilitation, pre-show participatory engagement tactics & generating new performance material. Sojourn’s Michael Rohd and other company members will be in residence at LSU the week of February 17-22, 2014.

 

Performances of How to End Poverty in 60 Minutes are Friday, February 21 at 4:30 PM and Saturday, February 22 at 7:30 PM in the HopKins Black Box theatre, 137 Coates Hall on the LSU-Baton Rouge campus.  Donations will be gratefully accepted at the door.

 

For information about this project, contact Trish Suchy in the Department of Communication

Studies, psuchy@lsu.edu or 225-578-4172.

 

About Sojourn Theatre

Sojourn Theatre, founded in 1999, is an award-winning ensemble theatre company comprised of

15 artists who live in 8 cities and make performance together around the nation.

National/international touring, a body of 25 works, and a reputation for consistent innovation as

artists and engagement practitioners has led to: a 2005 Ford Foundation/Americans for the Arts

Exemplar Award; being featured regularly at conferences and universities nationwide as a “best

practice model” for arts-based civic dialogue; being featured in recent articles in American

Theater Magazine and Yale’s Theater Journal; partnerships with non-arts sector organizations

such as city and state legislative bodies, social service agencies and cross-disciplinary arts

centers around the country. Current projects include a national initiative in multiple US Cities

with Catholic Charities USA poverty reduction sites; adapting our project BUILT with Planning

Commissions around the country as a tool for Public Engagement; Islands of Milwaukee, a

multi-year collaboration engaging public health, public transit and care services for homebound

seniors around performance-making and public dialogue culminating in an interactive exhibit at

City Hall in Fall 2014; How To End Poverty in 90 Minutes, a devised and participatory

performance model for community engagement being staged (so far) in Chicago, Louisiana and

Washington, DC. The company is led by founding artistic director Michael Rohd who devises,

directs, and collaborates on cross-sector projects around the nation, is on faculty at Northwestern

University, wrote the widely translated book Theatre for Community, Conflict, and Dialogue,

and leads the Center for Performance and Civic Practice.

 

 

Partnerships And Engagement

Shows like How to End Poverty in 60 Minutes require complex audience and expert participation. In order to address the complexity, Sojourn has developed four means of engaging the community:

 

Experts

Experts to help us learn – bringing in experts in the subject area in order to create a shared vocabulary and base of diverse knowledge for all collaborators.

 

Beneficiaries

Forming partnerships with specific organizations under each of five approaches we take in the performance to be potential beneficiaries of the show’s proceeds.

 

Cameos

Bringing in experts to share perspectives live, during the show with the goal of diversifying and complicating the show’s conversation.

 

Audience Groups

Forming partnerships with groups and organizations to bring patrons and representatives to shows in the hopes of a representing as much diversity of experience as possible.

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