Tuppence for Social Change:

Theatre for Social Change is unique in that it not only presents a problematic situation, but it allows the spectator to enter the action and help change the outcome. It takes on the oppressions, stigmas, and taboo topics in society and puts them on stage in ore to start a conversation and spark change. The aim is to not only bring understanding, but also to ultimately break the bystander effect: the idea that someone else’s problem is not my problem.


Terms/tools:

Forum Theatre:

After the team of actors collects stories of people’s experiences with the topic, we create a short 10-15 minute play addressing some of the major oppressions from our research. During the performance, we show the play once and the second time, the audience can intervene and practice, in a safe environment, what they would do or say to help change that situation.



Past Projects

  • The TU Men’s Project: (Fall 2018-Spring 2019)

Tuppence for Social Change returned to his alma mater, Trinity University, to address masculinity standards and the stigmas surrounding being a male in college. Jake led focus groups with students and learned the specific problems within the male culture. With actors and members of the male Trinity community, a scene was formed showing the oppressions and stigmas that arose. Some of the issues that were addressed are: men feeling like they can’t ask for help or don’t even know how to ask for help, pressure to drink, competition between men, and the pressure to get women. We performed the scene twice for the Trinity and larger San Antonio area.

  • Ending Stigma, End HIV/AIDS: A Forum Theatre Project (Summer 2018-Current)

This project was a collaboration with AtticRep and Roberto Prestigiacomo. With Trinity students, professors, actors, and members of the HIV+ community, we listened to 33 individual’s experiences living with HIV. From these stories, we created two short plays addressing the main sources that stigma and oppression come from: the doctors and clinics, and the person’s family. We took these performances to many clinics and testing centers around San Antonio and also had several performances open to the public. Our own Jake Pursell has been involved throughout the whole process, acting and leading some of the forum performances.

  • Oppressions of Immigrants and Refugees (Spring 2018)

Funded through an NEH grant, Tuppence for Social Change collaborated with three University of Incarnate Word classes on the oppressions and stigmas of immigrants and refugees. Our team of actors collected stories and did research on the everyday struggles that people of all immigration-statuses deal with. We used forum theatre and other theatrical tools with the three classes to pinpoint solutions to relevant problems.

  • Domestic Abuse: A Forum Theatre Performance (Fall 2017)

Tuppence for Social Change collaborated with Trinity University students for the department’s mainstage season. Our team, with Trinity students, brainstormed many relevant topics and oppressions that we could bring light to on campus. We decided on domestic abuse and set out in the community to collect stories of individuals’ experiences with the topic. From these stories, we created two scenes showing different aspects of domestic abuse. One was the more blatant, violent form, while the other one was more manipulative and subtle. We presented this performance seven times to Trinity and the larger San Antonio area.