February 2010 Newsletter

In this issue:

Upcoming Workshops – LA, Indiana and Ohio
AHRDO website launch – Afghanistan
AFSC Speaker series
Hector Aristizabal on KPFK
Under Pressure
YJC – Los Angeles
PTO Conference, Texas
The Blessing Next to the Wound
‘Stolen Pomegranates’, a poem by Vivien Sansour
Support Our Work!

Upcoming Workshops

AFSC, Los Angeles
March 5th and 6th 2010

Awaken Your Imagination!
Theatre Workshop With
Hector Aristizabal

Join us for
Awaken Your Imagination, an experiential workshop for anyone seeking personal or social change. Using experimental techniques based on Theatre of the Oppressed, drumming, dance, storytelling, council circle and more, we will co-create a space that invites the freedom of imagination and the possibility of joy. We invite you to join us in the very serious work of change through play.

TEL: 323-388-7523
COST: $80

Anderson, Indiana

“Nightwind” performance, followed by workshop.

Date: Tuesday, February 23, at 10 am
Location: Reardon Auditorium on the campus of Anderson University.

Tentative second performance/workshop for Wednesday evening (to be confirmed).

For additional information please contact: or call 765 641-4559.

Ohio Workshops

OSU/Columbus, Ohio
April 29th-May 1st 2010

Tentative Schedule
“Nightwind,” a solo play about torture, written by
Diane Lefer and Hector Aristizabal
Thursday, April 29, Blank Hall, OSU

Theater of the Oppressed: Lecture/workshop with Hector Aristizabal
Friday, April 30, Blank Auditorium, OSU

Theater of Imagination:
An All-Day Workshop with Hector Aristizabal,
May 1 at the Wild Goose Creative, Columbus Ohio (Produced by Burning Feather)

AHRDO website launch – Afghanistan

Our friends in Afghanistan have created a powerful web site documenting their work using Theater of the Oppressed Techniques, Play Back theater and other applied / interactive theater techniques as a tool for community empowerment and sustainable social change. Hector Aristizabal from ImagionAction, Marc Weimblatt from the Mandala Center for Change and Karin Gisler from Play Back Theater Zurich visited  Kabul, Herat and other small towns and villages. Hector performed Nightwind and led participatory theater workshops, trainings, and performances with a variety of groups including victims of war and genocide, women, orphans, mental health providers, teachers, university students, community activists, and professional actors. These intense trainings are part of a sustainable effort by AHRDO and other human rights organizations to use creativity as a tool for social justice. Please visit AHRDO by clicking on the link below.

Link to AHRDO –  Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization

AFSC Speaker Series

As part of AFSC Los Angeles’ monthly “Friends” Peace Dialogue series, Hector Aristizabal will be speaking on Thursday, February 11th, at 7pm. Featuring Hector, Liz Grover, and other guests, “this series is dedicated to promoting peace and nonviolence through positive communication.” Hector will be speaking about his recent travels to Afghanistan.

American Friends Service Committee
634 S. Spring St.
Los Angeles

This series is free and open to the public. Seating is limited, so please arrive early.

KPFK Interview with Hector Aristizabal

Hector was interviewed by Eisha Mason for KPFK,
January 11th, 2010. Click here INTERVIEW to listen to the interview.

Under Pressure
Having opened in November 2009, Under Pressure is running successfully in Rotterdam! Under Pressure is a Forum play about everything young people don’t really want, but do anyway. The main issues are alcohol abuse, game addiction, unsafe sex/teenage pregnancy, discrimination and conflicts with parents. The play was directed by Hector Aristizabal and Luc Opdebeeck of Formaat. It is targeted for at least 120 performances until mid-2011.

Link to Poster

Youth Justice Coalition

Juvenile In/Justice? In California, young people–primarily youth of color–are tried as adults and face sentences as harsh as life without the possibility of parole. Kids are pushed out of school. Cutting class leads to criminal arrest warrants. These are just some of the issues being addressed by the Youth Justice Coalition, an extraordinary grassroots activist organization, its membership and leadership made up exclusively of young people who have been, or are currently under arrest, on probation, in detention, in prison, or on parole or whose parents/guardians, brothers, or sisters have been incarcerated for long periods of their lives. More than 100 youth a week are engaged in leadership development, organizing and advocacy through the YJC’s chapters or legal education workshops.
ImaginAction artists and interns are now working with YJC members to develop Forum Theatre pieces to involve the community in exploring strategies for change. This would be an excellent opportunity for those interested in learning the application of Imaginaction’s methods. If interested, please contact Hector at:

For more information about the YJC, click on the link: YJC

The 16th Annual Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed (PTO) Conference

As a member of the Board of Directors of PTO I want to invite you to participate in this upcoming event:
The 16th Annual Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Conference
“Flex and Flexibility: When to bend? When to stretch? When to engage?”
Austin, Texas, June 3-6, 2010
(with pre and post-conference workshops TBA)
Hosted by: University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance and the PTO Austin 2010 Organizing Committee
Information about accommodations, keynote guests, a pre-conference workshop with Julian Boal, and post-conference workshops will follow on the website very soon!

The Blessing Next to the Wound

Hector Aristizábal and Diane Lefer
Published by Lantern Books
Available June 2010

LINK to book page at Lantern Books

This June, Lantern Books will publish The Blessing Next to the Wound by Hector and Diane Lefer, the story of his surviving civil war and torture in Colombia, his exile in the US, and accounts of seeking healing for himself and others through activism and art.

Hector and Diane are also contributors to the forthcoming anthology, Peace Movements Worldwide (Greenwood/Praeger) due for publication April 30th, 2010, and have been invited to write about ImaginAction’s theory and practice for an anthology about new approaches inspired by Boal.

Vivien Sansour

Vivien Sansour will be working in Jenin, Palestine collecting the stories of the organic olive oil producers of Canaan Fair Trade. She is also working with director Naomi Newman on a solo piece based on personal stories, dreams, and poetry.

Stolen Pomegranates
By: Vivien Sansour

Missing el loz
Longing wanting
Pomegranates stolen from my neighbor’s garden
Juice running like sugar water
Pomegranates and mishmish

Have you had mishmish before? I asked him
He never tasted mishmish baladi
Homegrown apricot
Grapes dangling in drive ways
With people sitting on small chairs
Separated only by a cup of tea
And a glass of lemonada

It is afternoon
It is really el asir- the time of day you cannot name in English
I walk into Aziza’s drive way
I have come carrying the olives from our harvest
Press these for me please
Pickle these for my father he wants to have olives from his trees this year

I pack them firmly
Two bottles of oil
I must find a way to get them to him
This year he wants to smell his land from the bottle
I put them back
No way will they get through
Liquids are dangerous carried by an Arab
Liquids like oil and blood and memory

Memory is our greatest friend and our worst enemy
I wish to forget
Then I wish to always remember
I save pieces of an old dress
A stone
And then I cry for forgetfulness
Never want to forget the smell of the press
Figs in August
And the seedlings of fakous
Straight from Beit Sahour

I wish I could forget
And so I remember in details
He gave me a stone
From El Lid he said
His mother’s hometown
She walked three days and three nights
No luggage
No gold
Just this stone
He gave it to me so I may never forget
And then he left
My hand clenching on the stone
I wish to forget
And I wish to always remember
A kind of love that lingers
And leaves you
And missing the stolen pomegranates

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