Lisa Jo Epstein (MA, Ph.D. UT Austin), Executive & Artistic Director of Just Act, is a theatre director, educator, and Theatre of the Oppressed trainer & facilitator. She believes there’s an artist within each of us, and her approach to Theater of the Oppressed gives us the tools and courage to explore, deconstruct and reconstruct ourselves as change-makers and the world around us as just. In the 1990s she trained for 3 years w/Augusto Boal (creator Theatre of the Oppressed) and Ariane Mnouchkine (Théâtre du Soleil). After 7 years at Tulane as Assistant Professor of Theatre, she returned to Philadelphia and co-founded Gas & Electric Arts. She founded Just Act in 2015 as a theatre-based catalyst for healing, change and activism to build a just world. With Just Act, a distinctive hybrid of artistic and community engagement, Lisa Jo develops and refreshes the capacity of social change makers and seekers to stand up for justice with renewed compassion and emboldened courage to face challenges. Working at the intersection of theatre, social justice, anti-oppression facilitation and community engagement, Lisa Jo integrates her multi-dimensional skills into facilitation and teaching of Theatre of the Oppressed, social justice diversity, equity & inclusion training, education and facilitation of inter-group dialogue; arts and asset-based community collaboration, engagement and planning; organizational and individual capacity development, engagement, expression and activism.
Just Act is a hybrid of artistic and community engagement committed to social justice. As a theatre-based catalyst for healing, change and activism, working at the intersection of theatre, social justice, anti-oppression facilitation and civic engagement to strengthen individual and collective power, we apply the principles of Theatre of the Oppressed to ignite critical thinking and unite community members for collective action. Highlights: workshops, residencies, Forum theatre programs on undoing racism, anti-bias, and creative conflict resolution with entities such as colleges, universities, schools, activists and organizers, and facilitating programs for visioning, planning, organizing and cohesion-building with the neighborhood engagement arms of local community development corporations. Our “People’s Jam on Justice” Forum Theatre events, created with grassroots organizations, enable participants to transform seemingly intractable dilemmas into real solutions for change. Remapping theatre as an active participant in the process of civic dialogue and social action, we: ACTIVATE community engagement, communication, reflection and repair; COLLABORATE across sectors with individuals, community groups, organizations and schools on building the capacity of individuals & communities who are systematically discriminated agains –and those in solidarity with them—to TRANSFORM new insights about seemingly intractable dilemmas into positive solutions for social justice.Providing creative techniques and practical strategies, Just Act supports change seekers reweave connections and nurture understanding by renewing and deepening their capacity to stand up, embrace conflict, and reimagine plans for action to build a just world.