Theatre for Poverty (TfP)

By Sarah Dykeman & Cliff Murphy

Too often in society there is very little chance to combine activism and serious dialogue on social issues with play, creativity and laughter. However, without elements of joy even the most enthusiastic and dedicated social activist can get overwhelmed. Likewise, there are few opportunities to engage in alternative forms of dialogue and problem solving that push for immediate active involvement. We have sought to create a unique and engaging curriculum for high school students to bring together elements of theatrical play with dialogue on Canadian poverty. Through drama we are able to provide a unique forum for discussion, one that is often neglected in today’s society.

The goal of TfP is twofold. First, through creative expression and interaction, we seek to engage high school students in discussions surrounding poverty. We hope to provide students with a new and innovative learning experience through which they will be encouraged to take responsibility for their own actions. Secondly, we hope to provide students with creative outlets. We want students to have fun performing, while becoming aware of their bodies and the movements and expression they are capable of. We aim to guide them through theatrical games, which will allow them to gain self-confidence and communication skills.

Recently TfP has been active in the Hamilton and GTA community, running workshops for students. We’ve met with some successes, and some failures, and continue to strive for improvement and greater involvement from community collaborators. We also continually seek to challenge our own assumptions and self-expression and creativity. If you are interested give us a shout at

“The performing arts can change attitudes. They can inspire. They can teach. They can awaken. They can change nations! Let’s use our natural talent to make a positive difference in our beautiful country and in ourselves!”(Born Free Centre Stage)

Cliff and Sarah are two fourth year students at McMaster University. Cliff’s interests include theatre and improv, he is currently the acting President of the McMaster Thespian Company and the McMaster Improv Team. Sarah’s interests include art and contemplating life on the boardwalk down at Cootes Paradise. She has been exploring Hamilton by working with Re-Create Youth Outreach Art Program.