Heart Theatre

Discovering pathways to personal power, equity, and social justice using theatre activities to build connections and community.

Heart Theatre is the belief that engaging in the theatre process fulfills our human needs for connection, communication, and play. When Heart Theatre fulfills those needs, individuals and groups connect with their hearts and find hope, inspiration, new possibilities, and solutions together.

Heart Theatre works with any group willing to try a creative approach- students, community members, social service clients, community leaders, industry leaders, incarcerated adults- in community based projects, school based projects, nonprofit organization/social service based projects, government based projects.

Heart Theatre Process

  • Gather People
  • Create Connection – play theatre games to encourage laughter and risk taking
  • Build Community – share stories as a group to begin building bridges
  • Illuminate Ideas – exercise all our acting tools: voice, body, mind, to find new wisdom
  • Explore and Experiment – perform possibilities collaboratively to rehearse new possibilities
  • Reflect – carry curiosity through all the above steps to ask questions and nurture understanding

Heart Theatre is situated within the applied theatre framework, which practices theatre in non-traditional places with underrepresented voices, as a means to address social justice issues. Heart Theatre projects have explored teen violence, power inequities, marriage equality, social determinants of health, domestic violence, and more. Projects have also developed personal skills of at-risk youth, incarcerated adults, adults with felonies, and domestic violence survivors to empower the self advocacy of individuals.

From Heart Theatre Director, Angie Frank

Intuitively and instinctively, I am rooted in the knowledge, feeling, belief, and experience that art and education are vehicles to illuminate, inspire, and activate people to engage with their hearts. I have witnessed this in my life experiences, my educational experiences in sociology, anthropology, theatre, and education, and my work experiences as an educator, teaching artist, and theatre director. In my work I incorporate multiple applied theatre philosophies and methodologies: Social Justice Theatre, Theatre of the Oppressed, Documentary Theatre, Ethnotheatre, Devised Theatre, Playback Theatre, and playwriting, which are carried out with an understanding that art and education are means to transform individuals and communities from passive participants into critical agents of change, empowered to shape the future.

I approach my work in any group with the rule to listen carefully and curiously to members within the group. I may have the theatre tools required to facilitate a theatre experience, but it is the group that teaches me what is meaningful, truthful, inspiring, and infuses the experience with the power to communicate with the hearts of participants and audiences to create change. It is in this way that I attempt to create open spaces where people connect with their hearts and are empowered to share what they find there.