Theatre performance addresses social change


asc first amendment theatre image

Image design by Jim Willis

Will Act for Change will present 1st Amendment Theatre: Scenes from Banned Plays at 8:00 p.m. Monday, May 10, on the Adams State College Main Stage Theatre.

The performance is free to the public with no ticket reservations. It is for mature audiences only. Scenes will feature controversial subject matter, nudity, adult language and situations.

Will Act for Change is a student acting company dedicated to using theatre to create social change. It was created as part of the Theatre and Social Change course taught by Dr. John Taylor, professor of theatre, at Adams State College.

As a recipient of the 2009 Presidential Teacher Award, Taylor was given the opportunity to teach a class of his choice. About his decision to teach this particular class, Taylor said, "I wanted to give my students an opportunity to practice theatre in a different way and to understand that to entertain people means more than making them laugh. As artists, I wanted to challenge them to ask the question, 'How will I change my part of the world?'"

Will Act for Change mission statement reads: "We are a social protest theatre company whose mission is to provoke change by challenging the status quo. Through the power of performance, we seek to encourage our audience to join with us as we promote social justice for all."

In the class, students have been studying and practicing different forms of performance that address injustice and oppression in society including guerrilla theatre techniques. In the week before spring break, Will Act for Change performed a series of Guerrilla Theatre pieces across the ASC campus. These were short "plays" dealing with a variety of topics including the need for healthcare reform, inequities in financial aid for students, homophobia, religious intolerance, and more. They also did a piece protesting cuts to higher education and the lack of long-term planning for its funding.

As their final project, the students in Will Act for Change will perform scenes from plays that have been banned or censored. Students will perform scenes from Spring Awakening, Angels in America, and more. They will also reprise several of the guerrilla theatre shows that we performed earlier in the semester.

Taylor said, "Through our work, we are exploring ways of achieving a more just society. It's not about righting all wrongs, but it is about trying to be a better society."

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