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Latest News

Red Thread: Story Circle on Traumatic Birth

Posted by on Nov 21, 2016 in Events, Latest News | 0 comments

6fed333d6b38168505d10eea9f21428a Explore your birth experience using theater and storytelling

 Memory War Theater invites you to participate in a half day of story sharing and  exploration around traumatic birth on Saturday December 3rd from 1:00PM-5:00PM. We are  inviting a small group of women who have  experienced a traumatic birth to attend this  half-day workshop. Theater artist Tikka Sears  facilitates the workshop with support from  psychologist, Leslie Butterfield.

The workshop will invite storytelling and exploration of our birth stories using drama  therapy, interactive theater, art and storytelling. Our goal is to create a space where  individuals who have experienced traumatic birth can share stories and process their own  stories in a healing and creative environment.

This project is part of a larger theater project that explores traumatic birth and there is an opportunity to work with this project in multiple ways. This story telling workshop is the first in a series of events to create spaces where we can communally share our stories.

To Register:

This workshop is FREE and supported by a grant from the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs. This is the second workshop in a series. Please register online for the workshop and answer a few questions about your experience and why you would like to participate. Please register only if you are certain that you can attend as space is very limited. Workshop location and more logistics will be sent after people register. **The deadline to register is Tuesday November 29 2016.

Sponsored by: Memory War Theater with support from the Mayors Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs.

More Info about the project here: redthreadstorycircle-dec_3


Theater for Change Spring Performance: May 9th 2016

Posted by on Apr 27, 2016 in Latest News | 0 comments

TfC May9 Poster purpleTheater for Change UW presents: “#HereWeGoAgain”
Monday, May 9, 2016

2:30 p.m. – 4:20 p.m. Interactive performance
4:20 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Reception
wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House, UW Seattle

Admission is FREE, but space is limited. RSVP today!
Dive into the deep waters with us and explore:
Racial microaggressions
White privilege
Equitable exchange

Theater for Change UW (formerly Interactive Theater as Pedagogy Project)
TfC UW uses Theater of the Oppressed and other interactive, participatory theater approaches to advance community dialogue, address issues related to classroom and institutional climate, and take action for change.

TfC UW is a collaboration between the UW Center for Teaching and Learning and Memory War Theater.

Sponsored by:

The Center for Teaching and Learning
The Graduate School
Memory War Theater


Reflections on Interactive Theater-by Dionne Foster

Posted by on Feb 26, 2014 in Latest News | 0 comments

ITPP Diversity Summit Program DRAFT_2ITPP Diversity Summit Program DRAFT_2ITPP Diversity Summit Program DRAFT_2ITPP Diversity Summit Program DRAFT_2ITPP Diversity Summit Program DRAFT_2ITPP Diversity Summit Program DRAFT_2When the opportunity arose for me to interview for the Interactive Theater as Pedagogy Project (ITPP), a collaboration between the UW Center for Teaching and Learning and the community theater organization Memory War Theater, I had no idea what interactive theater was or what I was getting myself into. After a quick google search and scan of the ITPP website, I came away with some basic themes; anti-oppression, inclusivity, solidarity, community dialogue, and social change. As a social work student, this was music to my ears and I eagerly came aboard. Now, about a month into my practicum placement, I’ve had the chance to witness and work with the students, community members, faculty and staff in preparation for several performances and the experience has been nothing less than transformative. Right now, we’re gearing up to perform the invited keynote presentation at the University of Washington, Tacoma Diversity Summit on February 28. At the Summit, ITPP will perform two interactive plays based on lived experiences with privilege, oppression, and stereotyping. Summit participants will have the opportunity to reflect and engage in collaborative problem-solving, and practice interventions that promote inclusivity and solidarity. In preparation, our office has been a buzz with rehearsals, planning meetings, and troupe debriefing sessions, however, that’s not to say the process isn’t messy. Writing, editing, and blocking a play that presents oppression in a theatrical manner without targeting or triggering cast members personal identities has proven complex and challenging. Performers must not only remain attuned to their own personal experiences with oppression but must also understand their characters identity and be prepared for the uncertainty of interventions from audience participants, requiring them to think on their feet. At the end of every rehearsal the performers take off their characters, sometimes characters are removed like an itchy t-shirt and other times more like a heavy, soaking-wet, stinky, poorly sized sweater. After I participated in my first rehearsal as an audience participant, I went home and thought about what I did and replayed the scene in my head again and again with different outcomes. And while I didn’t come up with a strategy to completely eradicate oppression (I’m still trying, keep ya posted), I did improve my ability to use my own voice, to speak up, and practice solidarity which is an opportunity that rarely presents itself in other workshops and trainings I’ve attended.

 But please, don’t take my word for it, see for yourself. Because the part of ITPP that really shines, the bridge it creates between theory and practice, between thinking and doing, between performance and participation is best understood through experience.

 Dionne Foster is an MSW candidate at the University of Washington School of Social Work. She professes her new-found love of interactive theater to all who will listen.

GiveBIG May 15th 2013

Posted by on May 14, 2013 in Latest News | 0 comments

Memory War Theater invites you to GiveBIG 2013!

On Wednesday, May 15th, from midnight to midnight (only 24 hours!) the Seattle Foundation will hold it’s annual GiveBIG charitable giving event to help inspire financial donations to Seattle non-profits. Each credit card donation made to the more than 1,400 nonprofit organizations profiled on The Seattle Foundation’s website will receive a prorated portion of the matching funds (or “stretch”) pool. The amount of the “stretch” depends on the size of the stretch pool and how much is raised in total donations on GiveBIG day. So please, remember to GiveBIG on May 15th!!!


How to GiveBIG:


Welcoming contributions of all amounts.


Memory War Participates in WOMEN WHO ROCK 2013 (UN)CONFERENCE

Posted by on Apr 19, 2013 in Latest News | 0 comments

(Inter)action! – Amplifying Voices Through Storytelling and Interactive Theater

This past weekend, 3/9, we collaborated in a rockin’ community event that brought together musicians, artists, performers, children, social justice activists, community educators/students, and countless inspired individuals of diverse walks of life.  The Women Who Rock 2013 (Un)Conference was a hit, and its impactful messages of innovative community engagement and creative collaboration are sure to reverberate well beyond the minds and hearts of those who were in attendance.

For a complete rundown of Saturday’s events/workshops and for the full scoop on the Women Who Rock Project visit their website.

Also, be sure to read the blog-post about Memory War’s interactive theater workshop:  (Inter)Action! – Amplifying Voices Through Storytelling and Interactive Theater.  (Brilliant bloggers were in attendance throughout the day relaying events in real-time!)

To echo the words of the Women Who Rock Project, let us continue . . .

“Making Scenes, Building Communities!”

Women Who Rock (Un)Conference 2013


Date, Time, & Location Set for Interactive Forum Theater Event

Posted by on Feb 19, 2013 in Latest News | 0 comments

Mark your calendars!  We have a performance date.

Date: April 23, 2013
Time: 3-5pm (with a 1 hour reception to follow)
Location: HUB (Husky Union Bldg.), Rm. 250, UW Seattle Campus
Free / Open to the public


Shakespeare Day

It’s said that The Bard both entered and left this world on the same day: April 23rd.  NOW THAT’S POETIC!

The wheel is come full circle.
(King Lear, 5.3.203), Edmund

While we were not so clever to as to deliberately plan our event to coincide with the birth and death of The Poet, it’s a welcomed synchronicity.  Perhaps more.  Did Shakespeare believe in fate?

What fates impose, that men must needs abide; 
It boots not to resist both wind and tide.”
(3 Henry VI, 4.3.60), King Edward IV to Warwick 

Let’s call our event an homage, perhaps willed by the spirit of The Bard itself.

We look forward to seeing you on April 23, 2013!

ITPP participants explore the theme "Policed Bodies"

ITPP participants explore the theme “Policed Bodies”

Interactive Theater as Pedagogy 2013 Begins . . .

Posted by on Jan 20, 2013 in Events, Latest News | 1 comment

YouTube Preview Image2013 is underway!  And the first day of our Interactive Theater as Pedagogy (ITP) 2013 project is here!  This 12 week project is an exciting collaboration between Memory War Theater and the University of Washington’s Center for Teaching and Learning.  For the next 3 months 17 participants will be using interactive social justice theater to explore and rehearse a variety of interventions to problematic situations involving privilege and oppression.  ITP will culminate in an interactive Forum Theater performance to be held on the UW campus in April 2013 (date and location TBD).  This gratis and participatory event will be open to the public. We hope to meet you there!  For now, please enjoy following our weekly explorations and preparations.

And remember:  “Theatre is a form of knowledge; it should and can also be a means of transforming society.  Theatre can help us build our future, rather than just waiting for it.” — Augusto Boal

We welcome your comments and questions.



‘Below U.S.’ Review on Crosscut.com

Posted by on Jun 2, 2011 in Latest News | 0 comments

‘Below U.S.’ explores Speedy Gonzalez and his identity crisis

By Bond Huberman

June 02, 2011

Try to put yourself in Speedy Gonzalez’s sombrero (he doesn’t wear shoes). Every day he must cross a fence that separates the “haves” and the “have-nots.” And in that crossing, he has developed multiple identities.

On one side of the fence, he is a hero — a tiny Robin Hood of the Rio Grande. He helps compatriots to their safety, brings music to their fiestas, and steals enough cheese for everybody. On the other side, Speedy is considered a lawless bandit looking to get something for nothing.

This is just the beginning of Below U.S., a new play created by Tikka Sears and Manuel Castro of Memory War Theater.

Using live theater, Indonesian-style shadow puppets, dance, video interviews, and animation by Tess Martin (whose short film “Plain Face” just screened at SIFF), Below U.S. appropriately employs a buffet of artistic expressions to explore and unpack the complications accompanying “hybrid identity.”

Castro, born in Washington, D.C., to a Chilean-American family, moved to Nicaragua with his parents as a child and lived there while the Sandinistas were in power. Sears grew up in both America and Indonesia. Now, the couple lives in the Tashiro Kaplan lofts in Pioneer Square. Castro is also a professional glass blower; Sears works as an instructor and coordinator at the UW.

While Sears and Castro typically work and live in “progressive” communities, they say they still encounter situations in which they have to either defend their ethnicity outright, or prove they are “authentic” members of one or both of their ancestral cultures. Castro says he struggled with being perceived as entirely Latino in America and entirely “gringo” in Latin American countries — a fact that left him feeling closed off from his complete identity.

Inspired by personal experiences, and a fascinating academic study of Latino stereotypes authored by William Nericcio, Sears and Castro decided to create an oral history project that could make this interior border conflict part of a community discussion.

The couple started by conducting filmed interviews with people about hybrid identity issues. They wrote several monologues based on these discussions and memories from their childhoods.

But as the project progressed, the monologues fell away in favor of incorporating more “real time” text. Sears and Castro used an iPhone to record their own conversations during rehearsals, then they turned those into scenes. They decided to use the raw footage from interviews. And more physical theater crept into the mix.

Finally, they fully embraced the irreverent and improvisational spirit of Indonesian puppet theater — a form that absorbs the direct surroundings into the material, makes one laugh in spite of painful subject matter, and directly makes fun of the audience. Of course, Sears and Castro don’t stay hidden behind the puppeteer’s screen for long.

Because even the set in this play has multiple personalities, a row of door-sized frames covered with opaque white paper (or something like it) also acts as a set of shifting dividers. Castro and Sears (the sole performers) weave in and out of them constantly — so that sometimes they are themselves, and sometimes they are only silhouettes. And throughout the performance, video images play randomly across the panels like piano keys.

Below U.S.’s fast-paced collage incorporates almost as many performance styles as ethnicities. Each scene challenges the performers to morph into a totally new form; they go from posturing as Zorro, to playing themselves, to playing each other, to channeling the Electric Company.

The result is a breathless chase of questions that don’t really have answers. But the pursuit is fascinating — and handled with expert embroiderers’ fingers, ripping away at the weave of racist stereotypes one tiny stitch at a time.

If you go: Below U.S., 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday (June 3-4); special preview 7:30 p.m. Thursday (June 2), Ethnic Cultural Theater, 3940 Brooklyn Ave. N.E., Seattle. Tickets cost $5-$12 and are available online.

Bond Huberman is a freelance writer living in Seattle. She is also co-founder of The Heroes, a nonprofit company that produces compelling performance and art through inventive interdisciplinary collaboration.

View this blog post online at: http://crosscut.com/blog/crosscut/20347/-Below-U.S.–explores-Speedy-Gonzalez-and-his-identity-crisis/

© 2012 Crosscut Public Media. All rights reserved.

Press Release: Below U.S.

Posted by on Apr 20, 2011 in Press Releases | 0 comments


April 20 2011
CONTACT: Lauren Solomon
PHONE: 206-251-8793
EMAIL: lauren@kpluspro.com

Memory War Theater Explores Hybrid Identity in Below U.S.

Ethnic Cultural Theatre, June 2-4

SEATTLE, WA- Collaborators Manuel Castro and Tikka Sears, Artistic Directors of Memory War Theater, join creative forces again to bring their newest multimedia play, Below U.S., to the Ethnic Cultural Theatre for three performances from June 2-4.

In Below U.S., Speedy, as he is nicknamed by his friends, seeks to find comfort within his complex identities. Labeled a gringo in Latin America and a Latino in the U.S., he experiences a state of perpetual banishment that makes him feel like an outsider abroad, at home, and even in his own skin. Zorro, Rico Suave, and other iconic stereotypes along with a montage of community voices show up to help or hinder Speedy in wrestling with these ill-fitting representations.

Combining physical theater, video animation by Tess Martin, and text drawn from interviews with community members, Below U.S. brings powerful, cross-cultural stories that deepen our understanding of the experiences of those living at the borders of cultures, languages, ethnicities and identities in Hybrid America. Most of the characters are portrayed by the versatile Sears, and include an array of real and imagined individuals that intersect with digital animation and shadow imagery, creating a visually striking multimedia experience that is layered, searing, funny, and explosive.

Manuel and Tikka encourage you to visit their website at www.memorywartheater.com, where you can learn more, join the discussion, and win a free ticket to the show. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for Seniors/TPS members, $5 for students, and can be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets.

Performances are June 3 and 4 at 8PM. Thursday, June 2 at 7PM will be a free preview event showcasingBelow U.S., plus a multimedia film project created by Intergenerational Roots, A Mixed Heritage Family Oral History Project. Intergenerational Roots is an oral history project and course at the University of Washington exploring the experiences and stories of mixed heritage people through interviews and public dialogue. A community discussion will follow the performances.

Below U.S. is created and produced by Memory War Theater with support from Artist Trust4Culture, theMayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, and is co-sponsored by the University of Washington School of Social Work. Memory War Theater is a partner project of Shunpike.

About the Artists:

Tikka Sears is a Seattle-based theater director, performer, and educator. In 2004, Tikka returned from two years in Indonesia where she was a Fulbright Artist-in-Residence and collaborated with the internationally acclaimed Black Umbrella Theater. Tikka has been studying and performing Indonesian arts for 15 years and weaves mask, dance, and puppetry traditions into her current work. She also has been adept at using oral history projects as a way to solicit community voices in her artistry. Tikka is the co-founder and artistic director of Memory War Theater, and along with her collaborator, Manuel Castro, created the multimedia play,Work Created Under Compulsion, which was selected to appear at Bumbershoot and On the Boards Northwest New Works Festival. Tikka has received grants from the US Embassy, the American-Indonesian Exchange Foundation, Artist Trust, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs and 4Culture.

Here is what the Seattle P.I. said about the On the Boards performance:

Of the nine works performed during the first weekend, three were clear standouts … Tikka Sears’ “work created under compulsion” is a powerful exploration of the struggles of three women throughout history — Scheherazade, a Holocaust survivor who painted concentration camp scenes, and a Latina immigrant serving in the U.S. Army Iraq. Actor-director Sears has collaborated with a team of musicians, singers and designers, including Manuel Castro… to create a multimedia production that ties these three very different life stories together … Sears and her talented collaborators enable us to see the challenges these women face as they try to make the best of very different, but equally difficult, life situations.

Manuel Castro is a Seattle-based glass blower and theater artist. Manuel is the lead writer and designer for Below U.S. and co-founder of Memory War Theater. Manuel’s first introduction to glassblowing was in 1997 at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle. He has worked as part of the Manifesto glass team, one of the premiere glass studios in Seattle, and in addition was part of the Lino Tagliapietra Seattle glass blowing team. In 2002 Manuel moved to Indonesia for two years and collaborated with visual artists and modern theater artists. With help from the Visual Arts Department of the Bandung Institute of Technology in Indonesia, Castro helped to open one of the first hot shops in West Java. “The time spent in Indonesia opened my eyes to new perspectives of what beauty and art could be. The artists there had few resources to work with, yet found ways to create and live for the art form they had chosen.”

For this production, Tikka and Manuel will be collaborating for the first time with filmmaker and animator,Tess Martin. Tess has been making her own short films since 2004. She has received an Artist Trust GAP grant, a City Artist grant, a Puffin Foundation grant and a 4Culture grant for work on her most recent film,Plain Face. Her last film (A Moment’s Reverie, a 10 min. stop frame animation) was on display at e4c, 4Culture’s media gallery in Seattle for a year, and has shown at multiple venues around the world. She is a founding member of SEAT, Seattle Experimental Animation Team, a collective of independent animators, and has helped organize animation events, screenings, and public works. Seattle Magazine profiled Tess and four other SEAT members in their March 2010 issue.

KUOW Radio Interview

Posted by on Sep 4, 2008 in Latest News | 0 comments

Link to audio interview with Jeremy Richards from public radio KUOW(starts at 2:50): http://www.kuow.org/program.php?id=15742


When War Hits Home

In October of 2002, a terrorist group detonated three bombs in Bali — 202 people died. In the U.S., many people read these headlines as another sign of an overseas threat, but Tikka Sears immediately thought of her close friends. Tikka lived in Indonesia for most of her life. She’s now based in Seattle and working with the Memory War Theater project on the play “Work Created Under Compulsion.” Part of her mission is to illustrate how these tragedies halfway around the world have immediate resonance here in the Northwest.