The PCAP Brazil Exchange, now in its sixth year, brings together students and faculty from social justice theatre programs at the University of Michigan, Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UniRio), and Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina (UDESC). Representatives from Brazil visited the U-M campus earlier this year. PCAP Director Ashley Lucas and her students recently returned from an annual three-week visit to Brazil through a CEGIS Global Course Connections program.
The nation of Brazil has a long history of using theatre as a vehicle to discuss and promote social justice causes. Michigan students in the exchange collaborate with Brazilian theatre students and faculty while attending theatre classes at UniRio and observing the theatre work being done not just in Brazilian prisons but also in the Maré favela and in two hospitals in Rio de Janeiro.
Each of the Michigan students contributed a blog post about their experiences. Hannah Agnew writes, "What never fails to amaze me when it comes to using theatre as a tool in various social environments is when you become so immersed that for a minute, you can forget about what separates you all. In my experience, the workshop and those I have facilitated in prisons have been so focused on working as a collective to create something that the dividing walls of culture and class were forgotten about––all I could think about how hilarious the kid on stage was, pretending to be a dinosaur that accidentally killed his friend with poisonous pancakes. It was shocking how similar the effect of theatre was in an entirely different cultural and social environment."
Read the rest of the student blog posts at Razor Wire Women.
Eddie Williams and Aly Gonzales with two of the very talented clowns from Enfermaria do Riso.
PCAP students joined Teatro em comunidades (Theater in Communities) workshops in Rio.