This essay, with a link to the full group-devised script of "Moving Forward, Living Backward, or Just Standing Still?" describes how graduate students entering an MFA acting program devised a performance inspired by the WPA’s Living Newspapers and Boal’s Newspaper Theatre to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Wade-Braden housing case in Louisville, KY. Drawing on critical race theory, I argue that the process, together with the script itself, offers an example of several ways performance can be used to remember and re-imagine a community’s racial history and future. It commemorated the trial itself, creating a public reminder of Louisville’s segregated, anti-Black past; it revealed intersections between segregation in Louisville and the practices of racist policing that led to Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, MO, thus connecting an historical event of local significance with a contemporary, national problem; it worked to decenter white narratives and authority; and it offered one model of how student artists can be trained to work together with community audiences to acknowledge how white supremacy is built into our laws, and imagine how we might build institutions differently moving forward.
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"Moving Forward, Living Backward, or Just Standing Still?: Newspaper Theatre, Critical Race Theory, and Commemorating the Wade-Braden Trial in Louisville, Kentucky,"
Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Journal: Vol. 4, Article 5.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/ptoj/vol4/iss1/5