A Culture of Possibility 011

Socially Engaged Performance, 1965–2020









Jan Cohen-Cruz

Arlene Goldbard

Rad Pereira



November 19, 2021


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Jan Cohen-Cruz wrote Local Acts, Engaging Performance, and Remapping Performance, edited Radical Street Performance, and, with Mady Schutzman, co-edited Playing Boal and A Boal Companion. She worked with A Blade of Grass, an organization that supports socially-engaged artists, from 2013-2019. She earned her PhD at NYU Performance Studies and was a longtime professor in the Drama Department, initiating its minor in applied theater.

Rad Pereira are a multi-spirit mixed Black, Indigenous Brazilian, Jewish (im)migrant artist currently based in Lenapehoking (Brooklyn). Their creative practices range from social sculpture, to popular theatrical and TV/film performance, to participatory liberatory artmaking and healing that weaves together an Afro-futurist longing for transformative justice and queer (re)Indigenization of culture.

They have curated stories from over 75 interviews and informal exchanges that offer insight into the field of Socially Engaged Performance in the United States over the past 55 years. The book’s voices bring the reader from 1965 through the first wave of the covid-19 pandemic in 2020. They point to more diverse and inclusive practices and give hope for the future of the art.

Their book, Meeting the Moment: Socially Engaged Performance, 1965–2020, by Those Who Lived It, will be published by New Village Press in May 2022.