Event Preview: Breaking Out Of Boxes

Gender assumptions and misconceptions affect each and every one of us every day. Breaking Out Of Boxes is an interactive performance which utilizes audience engagement and open discussion to address gender discrimination and feminism. This event seeks to reduce stigma associated with diverting from the societal expectations of gender identity.

Changing the Lens is a forum theatre project supported by the UBC Players Club. Forum theatre is an interactive form of performance that entails improvisation and audience engagement, and it often tackles issues of oppression. For instance, the group has explored cultural assumptions and indigeneity in the past. This year, Changing the Lens will be focusing on gender discrimination and misconceptions of feminism. The group will examine the consequences of living in a world where socially constructed preconceptions of gender dictate the way we think, feel and act. The project aims to deconstruct the pre-existing ideologies formed by social expectations of gender identity by changing the lens on the ways we view gender. How are our ideas of femininity and masculinity affected by societal constraints? Is gender identity merely a performance? What happens when one steps outside of pre-set gender roles? What does it mean to be a feminist?

The way forum theatre works is that our actors will perform a short skit based on a script that they’ve developed together during the workshops. The story plot always ends at the point of maximal conflict. Upon a first-viewing of the skit, the audience will gain a understanding of the dynamics of the situation. They can then reflect on what they would’ve done to change the course of the story. The actors will then perform the skit for the second time, and this time, audience members will be invited on stage to act out one of the characters to solve the conflict in an anti-oppressive manner.

Through forum theatre, the group hopes to invite people to think in others’ shoes and to examine social justice issues from a new perspective — to change the lens with which they’re accustomed to view things.

For more information about forum theatre, feel free to check out the website of Theatre for the Living.

The performance takes place on March 24 and 26 from 7-10pm in Neville Scarfe 100 on UBC campus. This event is wheelchair accessible and gender inclusive washrooms are available. Alcohol will not be served and the event is not scent free. Refreshments will be provided, and entry is by donation.

You can find out more about the event on their Facebook page here.