Creative Tools for Critical Times

Master Classes with Devised Theatre Innovators

On this page, you will find information about the presenters and their Master Classes. At the end of this note, you’ll find a link to apply for the next upcoming session

OVERVIEW: In this series of monthly, online Master Classes, participants will have an opportunity to learn a variety of ways to create community-based theatre for social justice. They will practice skills in political humor, storytelling, indigenous methodologies, collaborative playwriting & dramaturgy, best practices in partnering with stakeholders, and more. The topics explored will include impactful political activism; community-building; racial, disability and environmental justice; as well as LGBTQ+, women’s, immigration and voting rights; and more! All of the sessions will be highly interactive.

All of the Master Classes will take place from 1pm to 4pm (Pacific) on the dates listed below. These workshops are designed primarily for undergraduate and graduate students as well as for recent graduates and early career artists and activists. All of the sessions are free. Prior registration is required.

You can join us for a bunch of sessions or just one.  Applications for a “Certificate in Devising Theatre for Social Justice” from Fringe Benefits closed on December 21, 2023, and a wonderfully diverse and talented cohort of participants joined us from the United States, Egypt, the Philippines, Australia, Vietnam, England, and Canada.

Please Contact Us if you would like to receive updates &/or sign up for a Master Class!

“In the Break  |  Like Jazz” 

January 28, 2024                                                                                                                     

“In the Break  |  Like Jazz”  uses elements of Theatrical Jazz, including vulnerability, improvisation, innovation, virtuosity and collaboration. Participants work with writing prompts, embodied practices, telling their stories, and in-depth conversations around identities, histories, body truths, cultures, traditions, workplace ethos, communities and life mission.


Sharon Bridgforth

Doris Duke Performing Artist & United States Artists Fellow


Omi Osun Joni L Jones  

Author of Theatrical Jazz: Performance, Ase, and the Power of the Present Moment


“Making Mosaics: An Ensemble Devising Process” 

February 17, 2024                                                                                                                     

Auburn University’s Mosaic Theatre Company devises group performances about issues of social justice. In this workshop, we will learn consensus-building tools that the group practices to choose topics and work through the initial processes of narrowing a topic, choosing the best form, and finding the key questions that will help us shape the work. 


Tessa Carr  

Associate Professor of Theatre, Auburn University

Co-Artistic Director, Mosaic Theatre Company



 “Through a Nepantla Lens: Devising Ensemble Play” 

March 9, 2024                                                                                                                     

Participants will be guided through the process of collective devising, listening to the body and centering play. The Master Class uses the Náhuatl concept of Nepantla, meaning in-between, to explore and create theatrical, narrative and performative structures. The class is physical and invites students to embrace the notion of writing on their feet. 

                                                                                                                                                                             Sayda Trujillo 

Assistant Professor of Voice and Acting

Department of Theatre & New Dance @ California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.                                                                                            


“Disability as an Invitation to Create:                                                                A Conversational Workshop” 

April 21, 2024                                                                                                                     

Too often non-disabled people in theater aren’t imaginative (or experienced) enough to regard disability as a performance option rather than a directorial obstacle. This workshop will be an intense and informed brainstorming session in which participants will explore creative ways disability has been and can be integrated into productions to invigorate tired old tropes of theater.

Donna Marie Nudd 

Professor, School of Communication, Florida State University and Executive Director, Mickee Faust Club


Terry Galloway

Solo Performance Artist. Co-founder / Head Cheese / Artistic Director, Mickee Faust Club


“Weaving Together Personal and Political Stories” 

MAY 19, 2024                                                                                                                     

Cairo-based artivist, Dalia will share tales of theatre-making during times of extreme political changes in Egypt. She’ll introduce some techniques to free the imagination and create theatre even during intense circumstances.

Dalia Basiouny 

Writer, Director, Educator, Translator and Eco-farmer


“Speaking Their Language” 

June 22, 2024                                                                                                                     

In this workshop, we will explore strategies and practice for identifying a community’s metalanguage and implementing it to accurately represent them. We will focus on Playwriting in Community-Based Theatre.


Paula Weston Solano

Lecturer for Cal Poly Pomona’s Department of Theatre and New Dance

Independent Community Based Theatre Artist, Actor, Playwright and Director.



“Tools for Political Humor Writing” 

July 7, 2024                                                                                                                     

A workshop for participants who are new to writing comedy or curious about strategies for incorporating humor into writing about seemingly unfunny subjects.  Participants will be presented with my personal rubric of strategies and some exercises to hone the “eye” for funny.


Kristina Wong  

Pulitzer Prize Finalist, performance artist, comedian, writer, elected representative, & food bank influencer



 “From One to Many: Deep Listening and Collaborative Storytelling” 

August 4, 2024                                                                                                                  

Active listening is a deep and difficult skill to learn for social justice-oriented theatre making. This workshop will focus on the practice of deep listening and engage the ethically challenging process of embodying another’s story.


Ann Elizabeth Armstrong  

Associate Professor of Theatre, Miami University



“Just Act, Go Vote: A Zoom ‘Power Bar'” 

September 15, 2024                                                                                                                  

In this workshop, you will learn several techniques to create Forum theatre about why teens don’t vote. You’ll walk away with cool, simple tools for gathering and homing in on your group’s social injustice topic, as well as facilitating and unpacking Forum improvisations.


Lisa Jo Epstein 

Founding Executive and Artistic Director, JustAct



“Community-based Theatre: International Project Planning and Execution” 

October 13, 2024                                                                                                                  

Based on his experience participating in and leading international community-based theatre projects in Zimbabwe and Colombia, Professor Solano will share case studies, devising exercises and tips for securing project funding.


Bernardo Solano

Chair, Department of Theatre & New Dance @ California State Polytechnic University, Pomona



“Devising for Community Connection” 

November 2, 2024                                                                                                                  

In this interactive and improvisational workshop, Daniel will share practices that DNAWORKS has used in 38 states and 17 countries to bring people closer together and create a greater sense of connection and belonging.


Daniel Banks 

Co-Founder & Co-Curator, DNAWORKS



“TeAda Methodology Workshop Intensive” 

December 14, 2024                                                                                                                  

Participants will be introduced TeAda’ devising methodology which is based on decolonization practices that encourage participants to share their personal experiences and knowledge. These include social justice-based movement and theater games used by ensembles of color such as Urban Bush Women, Carpetbag Theater, Teatro Campesino, Cornerstone Theater and Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed.


Leilani Chan  

Founding Artistic Director, TeAda Productions     



“Climate Change and Storytelling: Beginning with the Self” 

DATE TBD, 2024                                                                                                                  

Participants will learn how to effectively use relevant facts and information and their personal background to create solo and/or group pieces that theatrically and persuasively address Climate Change.


Joan Lipkin 

Producing Artistic Director, That Uppity Theatre Company, Director, Climate Change Theatre Action St. Louis