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Alternate Activity 1: Street Theater, Workshop 7: Service is Our Prayer

In "A Chorus of Faiths," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers, and tape
  • Costumes and props
  • Leaflets with information about the issue you wish to publicize
  • Optional: Workshop 6, Handout 3, Sample Press Release

Preparation for Activity

  • Obtain or create leaflets.
  • Decide where the group will perform a street theater piece—on your congregation's grounds? a location outside the congregation?
  • Designate one or two people to hand out leaflets and answer questions.
  • If your congregation includes a theater professional, you may wish to invite them to assist with this activity.
  • Post blank newsprint.
  • Optional: If you plan to perform your street theater piece in a public space, contact the local press (using Workshop 6, Handout 3, Sample Press Release).

Description of Activity

Participants engage with social issues using street theater.

Explain that service projects such as the one the group is planning are often connected to larger societal or institutional problems. Ask the youth to identify the larger issues underlying their service project. Write their answers on newsprint.

Say, in your own words:

We heard a story about the Faithful Fools in San Francisco. They would often use street theater to publicize the problems facing the residents of the Tenderloin district. What are ways we could use street theater to publicize the issues we have identified?

Write ideas on the newsprint.

Now present the costumes and props. Invite the group to plan a skit using one of their ideas, perhaps using some of the costumes and/or props you have brought. Encourage them to make their skit short, to the point. Tell them to avoid creating a skit that might appear to be a violent act in progress.

Give participants 20 to 30 minutes to plan. Have them perform the skit, critique it themselves, then perform it again. Pretend to be a person passing by and ask questions such as "What is going on?" "Why is this important?" and "How do I find out more information about this issue?"

Decide if the street theater piece will be performed outside the meeting pace. If so, have participants help plan the logistics. If you plan a performance around strangers, plan at least one performance beforehand to a friendly audience.

  • You may wish to perform for the congregation.
  • You may wish to share this exercise with your partner participants in the interfaith service project. This should be offered as a suggestion; proceed only with the other groups' enthusiastic endorsement. Invite input from members of the other groups and incorporate their ideas into a skit. You may wish to perform the skits for the other groups' faith communities.
  • You may wish to plan a public performance of the skit. Follow your congregation's safety policies and obtain the proper permissions for minors who will participate. Check your municipal regulations to see if you need a permit.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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