Radio — Transformation through theatre in British Columbia


On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, I talk with David Diamond and David Ng of Theatre for Living about using theatre as a tool for change.

Despite the fact that the vast majority of what we encounter doesn’t do this and doesn’t really try, the arts and theatre are quite capable of being transformative in a sense relevant to struggles for social change. Vancouver’s Theatre for Living — known from its founding until the last year or two as Headlines Theatre — aims to do exactly that, though its model for doing so has shifted quite a bit over the years. It has evolved from its beginnings in the early 1980s among an ad hoc group of actors doing very agitprop-style pieces, to work firmly in the tradition of Augusto Boal’s “theatre of the oppressed,” and into a more politically flexible and nunaced adaptation of that approach that company co-founder Diamond calls “theatre for living.” Its current work includes a range of workshops as well as major productions — the latter category most recently including a piece called Maladjusted, which incorporates forum theatre and focuses on people’s struggles with the mental health system. It is set to tour in British Columbia and Alberta starting in late January 2015. Diamond, who is currently the company’s artistic and managing director, and Ng, who is its outreach coordinator, talk with me about the company’s history, its philosophy, and its unique approach to developing and mounting transformational productions.

To learn more about Theatre for Living, click here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada. We give you the chance to hear many different people that are facing many different struggles talk about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, in the belief that such listening is a crucial step in strengthening all of our efforts to change the world. To learn more about the show in general, visit its website here. You can learn about suggesting topics for future shows here.

Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Sudbury, Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

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