Community education, civic engagement, and creative expression come together at Cambridge’s highly regarded American Repertory Theater.
Picket lines and protest scenes are rife with song and performance, while literature and theater regularly interrogate the bounds of our humanity, our capacity for acceptance, and what constitutes rightful action. Whether it is working class poetry, such as James Oppenheim’s Bread and Roses which was borne of Massachusetts’s own 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike, or characters in a Sartre novel opining on solidarity, the arts and humanities shape our expectations of justice and inform how we ought to achieve it.
Beginning in September, Cambridge’s highly regarded American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) will dive headlong into these waters with a series of programs using community education, civic engagement, and creative expression to explore the role of the arts and humanities in understanding and advancing human rights. Intellectual and institutional reciprocity are at the core of the A.R.T. of Human Rights, and educational and nonprofit institutions in Cambridge, Dorchester, and Lowell have joined the partnership. Interactive seminars will be conducted with high school and Boston Clemente Course students designed to explore the history, literature, and politics of social change. Public conversations will be held with leading artists, academics, and activists about the most pressing human rights issues of our time. Original theatrical performances will illuminate the vital connections between the past and the present struggles for a more just and humane world.
Organizers are paying special attention to ensure that these important events are widely attended across the boundaries of class, color, culture, and circumstance. As such, all seminars will take place in local schools and institutions, and all performances will be free for seminar participants and their families.
This 8-part monthly series—to run from September 2014 through May 2015—is a partnership between the American Repertory Theater, Harvard University’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Lowell High School, Cambridge Rindge and Latin, the Boston Clemente Course in the Humanities, and Youth on Fire.