Poetic Justice theater group to offer free classes

PORT TOWNSEND — Now celebrating its 19th season, the Poetic Justice Theatre Ensemble will offer a free three-Friday class in social change theater techniques starting today at 3:30 p.m.

Classes will be at Quimper Grange, 1219 Corona St. Successive classes are slated for 3:30 p.m. Nov. 15 and Nov. 22.

Facilitated by Mandala Center for Change co-directors Zhaleh Almaee and Marc Weinblatt, the class will introduce people to applied, interactive theater games and exercises and will double as an informal “audition” process for anyone interested in joining the Poetic Justice Theatre Ensemble (PJTE) for the 2019-20 season.

Participants can expect to learn tools for social change, meet like-minded people, play with current troupe members and get a behind-the-scenes experience of the ensemble’s approach to theater-based social justice work.

The focus of PJTE is to stimulate healthy community dialogue and invite action towards the creation of a more just and joyous world, organizers say.

It specializes in interactive performance and workshop techniques, Theatre of the Oppressed and Playback Theatre among others. In the improvisational performances, audience members are not passive spectators but active “spect-actors” invited onstage to explore solutions to their own questions and struggles.

A dedicated multi-ethnic, multi-generational (teens to elders) ensemble, PJTE serves a wide range of community — especially around issues of marginalization, organizers said.

Last season, Poetic Justice did a Teen Initiative, centering on youth voices and adding six teenagers to the Ensemble’s multi-generational cast.

Performances included a series at Blue Heron Middle School and Port Townsend High School, as well as partnerships with Dove House Advocacy Services, Finnriver Farm and Sunfield Land for Learning.

Past seasons’ highlights included public performance/dialogues on youth disempowerment, racism, poverty, substance abuse, domestic violence, disability, LGBTQ/gender issues, hate speech, shaming, islamaphobia, gun violence, war and global warming.

The ensemble is particularly seeking to cast teens and people of color.

Weekly 2½-hour rehearsals are held in Port Townsend.

Requirements to join Poetic Justice include a passion for social justice, the willingness for honesty and self-reflection in a group context, the ability to make a consistent weekly commitment to rehearsals every Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. through late-May 2020 plus an all-day retreat in December. Acting experience is helpful but not required.

The Poetic Justice Theatre Ensemble is a community service project of the Port Townsend-based Mandala Center for Change.

To sign up for the three-week class and audition and for more information on Poetic Justice or the Mandala Center, call 360-344-3435, email [email protected] forchange.com or visit www.mandalafor change.com.

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