Community Speaks for Free Speech

Cal Poly Theatre and Dance Department presents COMMUNITY SPEAKS FOR FREE SPEECH a community-based theater performance produced by PCPA. A play by Karin Hendricks and The Ensemble of Community Speaks! 2016.

Monday, March 28th - One Night Only
7:00 p.m. Building 45, #212
free of charge - limit seating available

What is it?

Community Speaks is an annual community-based theater project co-created in the fall of 2009 as a class for PCPA's training program. The project creates original performances centered around a local subject, event, or conflict using the form of Verbatim Theater, in which the play is comprised of the precise words spoken in interviews conducted within the Central Coast Community. Examples of subject matter includes 2012's Community Speaks for Cancer, a piece that was inspired by the grand opening of the Mission Hope Cancer Center in Santa Maria. In 2014, there was Community Speaks for The Other Side of Broadway, which centered around the conflict generated by the potential construction of an ICE facility in Santa Maria. The following year, they performed Community Speaks for the Invisible, highlighting Santa Maria's disenfranchised communities. In each piece, interviews were conducted throughout the Central Coast using dance and original music while upholding the Verbatim Theater model.

In this year's Community Speaks for Free Speech, conservatory students will perform an hour long original play incorporating movement, original music, and the precise words spoken by our Central Coast community derived from over 70 different local interviews.

Much of the movement work this year is made up of the actual gestures interviewees used during their conversations with us. These gestures comprise a cycle that shows up multiple times throughout the performance. Community Speaks acts as a voice for the Central Coast, generating compassion as a way for an audience to break down prejudices and preconceived notions in order to experience a topic in a new way. It serves as outreach to the Central Coast, combing arts with current affairs though original theatrical work.

Not only is the audience of the piece experiencing cultural education, but the project has a profound impact on the PCPA conservatory students. It involves them in advocacy for human rights and it engrains the fact that the performing arts can serve as a catalyst for social change. For more information, please contact Josh Machamer @ 756-5560 or

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