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Readers' Theater in WILPF Branch Work

 
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Readers' Theater in WILPF Branch Work
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Laura Roskos



Joined: 10 Oct 2006
Posts: 4
Location: Cambridge, MA

Post Readers' Theater in WILPF Branch Work Reply with quote
The topic for this second book read brings the two things I treasure most about WILPF together: (1) the tendency to “always historicize” and (2) protocols and processes that demand each and every one of us speak up. It may strike some as odd that WILPF’s Advancing Human Rights Committee would choose a book on teaching as its second “book club” selection. Publicity for Jan Maher’s book focuses almost entirely on classroom work with young people—but although some WILPF members do exactly that as a vocation or avocation, working with young people in classroom or quasi classroom settings isn’t what most of us do as WILPFers. Nonetheless, as WILPFers we need to think about ways we can bring newcomers in and educate them about the unique organizational culture of WILPF, so that they get comfortable enough to stay (and eventually change it?). At the urging of AHR committee member Pat O’Brien, we used readers’ theater to open the fall retreat of the Boston branch. Like Most Dangerous Women, WILPF: Conceived in War, Born for Peace (with hats!) by Leah Wood, is a play about WILPF foremothers. I noticed that beginning in this way elevated the tone of everything that followed during the next day and a half. Our communication was more respectful of each other, perhaps because we saw our foremothers reflected in each other, and more mindful of how special it is to find a group of like minded women with whom to do radical political actions. Our retreats are always good, but readers’ theater acted as an icebreaker that added substance to the gathering while calling out our most playful and generous selves. What we did was very informal and unrehearsed, with roles handed out over diner and readers’ literally reading from the script in front of the rest of the group. I’d like to learn from others’ reflections on specific situations, inside or outside of WILPF, in which they’ve used the technique of readers’ theater. Write soon, because I’ll be checking back often.
--Laura R., Cambridge, MA
Fri Apr 20, 2007 10:37 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
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