This is not a play; it is not a lecture; it is not an interactive workshop; it is not a physical theatre piece; it is not a public conversation. Sojourn Theatre’s How to End Poverty in 90 Minutes (HTEP) is all of these things. Most significantly, it’s an opportunity to challenge a different audience every show with the question: how do you attack the problem of poverty in America, with a lens specifically focused on your community.
Over the course of 90 minutes, the audience will listen, explore and ultimately choose how to spend $1,000 cash from ticket sales sitting onstage at each performance. The show is an experiment in dialogue, in collective decision-making, in shared responsibility, and in the potential for art to help us make our world a better place. Spectacularly eclectic in form, often delightful and occasionally uncomfortable, How to End Poverty engages audiences alongside community experts.
Come spend with us.
"I cannot urge you strongly enough to go and participate in the discussion. You will learn things, you will share things, and you will find yourself moved to take action as you leave the theater."Patrick Brassell Broadway World
“This innovative play challenges common assumptions about the faces of poverty and how people fall into desperate circumstances. We wanted to shatter those stereotypes and strip away preconceived notions, and I think this powerful production does just that.”August Napoli, president and CEO | United Way of Greater Cleveland.
“At the end of the night, people walked away knowing some of their ticket money went to an organization that will make a difference, and they gained a better idea of the effects of poverty in Cuyahoga County.”Lisa Ryan | Idea Stream
“Debates played out onstage and in the crowd, where at a Wednesday performance I attended, CEOs sat alongside families living in public housing…"Why talk about poverty in a roomful of strangers?" one of the actors asked. "Because the chance to respectfully listen to strangers feels so rare these days. And I believe change can't come without it." On that we can agree.”Andrea Simakis | The Plain Dealer
Sojourn Theatre’s How to End Poverty in 90 minutes (with 69 people you may or may not know) is a devised, community specific participatory theatre event that explores issues of poverty and democracy by allocating $1,000 from the box office at every performance to a local organization that fights poverty.
The audience decides where the money goes. The show’s plot is not a single story, but the journey of strangers (the audience) making a decision about how to best engage with a seemingly intractable and complex public issue.
The production, created after a year of research and community partner-building opened in May 2013 at Northwestern University. Since then, Sojourn has mounted productions in Baton Rouge (at LSU), Portland, Oregon (at regional theater Portland Playhouse), Big Sky, Montana (Warren Miller Performing Arts Center) among others.
As of January 2018, Sojourn and presenting partners we have currently, re-purposed over $70,000 from the arts economy towards the poverty reduction economy across 6 states where the show has been presented. HTEP is a developed manifestation of an aesthetic that blends adventurous theatricality with real time, task-based connective encounter amidst strangers.
Across the CampusSeattle University students involved with the show, also participated in a Winter class, in which they conducted research, and experienced regular site visits/interaction with private and public organizations working on issues related to poverty. In addition, the students were trained in consensus-building.
We are deeply excited about this opportunity for the university and its theater students to live its mission by creating live, compelling theater that leaves the audience better informed and empowered. Their research and work conducted in class will be used as seeds for the generation of new locally specific content for this iteration of HTEP.
Tickets on sale now at the Lee Center Box Office or online through Brown Paper Tickets.
Lee Center Box Office and Hedreen Gallery
Located at the corner of 12th and Marion
206-296-2244 Wednesday- Saturday 1:00-6:00 PM.