Newspaper Theatre (NPT) was born as a theatrical manifesto by Arena Theater of Sao Paulo. With the 12 techniques of NPT, a group of actors and non-actors can transform any non-dramatic text (Newspapers, documents, the bible, etc.) into a critical and empathic investigation of the news.
Reading the news without any comment or commentary, detached from the context of the newspaper. Such biases less influence the audience as the story’s position in the paper or the headline’s size; choosing and reading the text make it a public newspaper theatre event.
Information that is omitted by the newspapers is added to give a more “complete” version. This information comes from other news, research, or the knowledge we possess: The leading questions in this stage are what do we know that is not there? What is missing?
Reading two contradictory or linked stories (alternating them) to shed light and add a more in-depth explanation provides a new layer to the reading. In Crossed reading, the crossing of texts allows for new theatrical possibilities.
When reading (or singing) a text with rhythm, we add a musical commentary, such as samba, tango, or a chant. In rhythmical reading, the text is “filtered” by the new rhythm’s connotations, allowing for a more critical and empathic reading of the news.
Reading the text while adding parallel actions showing either the context in which the reported event occurred or complementing the spoken story by contrasting with another activity type.
The news is improvised on stage to explore/exploit variants and possibilities. It is open to re-playing and suggestions and involvement from the audience.
Reading or acting the story together with facts or scenes that show the event in a context of other historical moments or other countries or social systems.
Performing the text with the aid or accompaniment of reinforcing material, such as audio/visuals, jingles, advertising, or publicity materials. It adds new aesthetical dimensions and possibilities to the performance.
The concretion of the abstract
Revealing on-stage what the news often hides or masks beneath clichés, over-used terms, or matter-of-fact reporting. Concepts such as torture, hunger, unemployment become concrete through theatre and embodiment. We are reclaiming the emotional impact of abstracted ideas.
Text out of context
Performing the text out of the original context, an actor portraying the Prime Minister delivers a speech about austerity while devouring a huge dinner. The truth behind the words is demystified; for example, the PM wants austerity for the people, but not for themself.
Insertion into the actual context
In this technique, we bring the text into the actual context in which the problem happens (for example, an article describing a war is conducted on a theatrical battlefield)
Field interview (interrogation)
The characters from the text are interviewed on stage like the football players might be interviewed on the halftime of a game—those creating an active investigation with the performance audience.
*ImaginAction is offering Unlock the News courses, Dojo spaces and workshops.
Below you can find a publication made post a Newspaper workshop by Uri Noy Meir and Organized by Nikolai Kunitson in 2012