Community-Based Performance and the School-to-Prison Pipeline
In our “Theatre for Social Justice” course, we have studied the ways in which community-based performance can serve as mechanism for social change and community empowerment by giving voice to marginalized identities. We have researched the work of Hidden Voices, a community-based performance collective in nearby Cedar Grove, North Carolina. They are a non-profit organization led by over 100 volunteers and various other contributing professionals who together work to develop two to three projects every year (hiddenvoices.org). Hidden voices collaborates “with underrepresented communities to create award-winning works that combine narrative, mapping, performance, music, digital media, animation, and interactive exhibits to engage audiences and participants in explorations of difficult issues” (hiddenvoices.org).
Recently, Hidden Voices has created a project designed to expose the School-to-Prison Pipeline phenomenon wherein children, a majority of which are African American, are increasingly “funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems” (aclu.org). The project includes a performative component centered around the reading of monologues that have been written by stakeholders in the School-to-Prison Pipeline system. As a part of our final project for our “Theatre for Social Justice” course, we prepared a poster presentation on the work of Hidden Voices and how their methods can be used to tell the stories of those most affected by the School-to-Prison Pipeline. In addition to our poster presentation, we are also planning a performance piece during which various members of the Davidson College Community will present the monologues on the “School-to-Prison Pipeline” that have been collected and organized by Hidden Voices. This monologue reading will then be followed by an interactive discussion. All students, faculty, staff, and community members are invited to attend the monologue reading and discussion that will take place after the symposium.