Theatre and Social Justice (January 2020)

This essay first appeared in the January 2020 issue of Choice (volume 57 | issue 5).


Theatre and social justice are natural and frequent bedfellows; many theatre scholars and practitioners cannot imagine separating the two. In the West, this pairing harks back to the ancient Greeks, whose dramas focused on issues of justice, ethics, and morality. From a study of these plays, Aristotle identified the power of drama to promote empathy in audiences, an idea that continues to be a motivating drive of theatre to this day. Broadly defined, social justice theatre is theatre that provokes in the audience an empathetic response to characters suffering various forms of injustice. There has been a wealth of theatre …

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About the author:

Dr. Martha Schmoyer LoMonaco is professor of theatre and American studies at Fairfield University, where she regularly teaches courses in theatre and social justice.