Applied theatre with gatekeepers




Jerke, Lauren

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Applied theatre projects that aim to address social justice issues almost exclusively involve those who are experiencing injustice; while members of the state, who actively maintain the status quo, are frequently overlooked, despite the fact that they are essentially gatekeepers of social justice. In projects that do involve current and/or future members of the state, the root cause of social injustice and the systems, institutions, and ideology which support capitalism are only briefly mentioned, if at all. For this arts-based, anti-oppressive research, I facilitated three applied theatre projects that involved future and/or current gatekeepers. For each project, I considered the conditions that provided participants the opportunity to identify and question dominant ideology through the dramatic process. Having analyzed each case, I found that when applied theatre is structured using a revolutionary approach, it can cultivate felt understanding and deepen critical consciousness. In order to truly address issues of social justice with the goal to ending them, I argue for dedicated spaces where future and current gatekeepers can participate in applied theatre to critically examine the ideas that support capitalism, and the tendency and temptation to draw lines in the sand between “us” and “them”.



applied theatre, arts-based research, anti-oppressive research, gatekeepers, revolutionary theatre, social justice issues, dominant ideology