Founded in the spring of 1999, The Interactive Theatre Project (ITP) at the University of Colorado uses theatre to engage the community around social justice. ITP is designed to engage audience members in dialogue and learning about issues of oppression and privilege and build capacity for democratic dialog across groups about difficult community issues. Performances cover a variety of topics within the framework of social justice, such as race, sexual identity, gender violence, gender identity, socioeconomic status, age, and religion and are held in classrooms, training sessions and community programs and events. Located in the division of Student Affairs, ITP works across all facets of the university and larger community to bring social justice education theory and practice into accessible conversations for audience members.
The vision: to open up new forms of dialogue to address our most pressing issues.
The mission: to use theatre training in building new generations of community leaders, advocates of social justice and ambassadors of civil discourse. ITP creates change though examination of issues, practice of skills and application of knowledge
Program values are rooted in the ideal that in a world of constant change, there can be firm and healthy means to examine, dissect and solve the issues that impact all of us, both locally and globally.
ITP’s basic principles allow for several key components are:
- Allows participants to participate in solving their own problems.
- Delivers messages in culturally appropriate manners.
- Allows participants to practice skills in intervention, dialog and community building activities.
- Allows subjects to share emotions, actions, thoughts, and obstacles not expressed in written surveys to greater depth.
- Allows subjects to have a shared experience towards finding solutions to common issues.
- Allows for a greater impact, with longer lasting effects on participants.
- Participants can experience empathy for and identification with those involved in the performed scenario.
- Participants can think through what actually happened in the scenario and make application to personal experiences as well as contemplate methods to creating alternate outcome(s).
- Participants can think about possible consequences of the performed scenario and discuss and practice steps to ameliorate those consequences.
- It gives participants the ability to dialog possible solutions and potential strategies for change, using the wisdom of the community to create better solutions.