Unearthing institutional issues with interactive theatre.
Interactive theatre uses actors and a “sketch” of a social problem to enact complex scenes related to a social issue. Interactive theatre, an innovative methodology to engage faculty in difficult dialogues and sensitive subjects, has been used with great success at several universities with funding from NSF ADVANCE. The enactment accomplishes what many didactic faculty workshops attempt to convey, but differs because faculty become involved in generating interventions and possible solutions to the problem. Audience members may also contribute onstage, replay scenarios, or criticize or comment on the actors (still in their roles) to gain a deeper understanding of the issue at hand. A trained facilitator moderates the activities, beginning with a presentation about research related to the interactive scenes and later guiding the exchange between the audience and the actors. The facilitator helps the audience uncover subtle biases in the actors’ comments, points out implicit assumptions or fallacies related to the discourse, and creates dialogue about the efficacy of audience interventions. The presentation concludes with questions from the audience, and the facilitator provides relevant resource and action-based strategies.