I AM THEATRE: Joanna Sherman

Bond Street Theatre’s been working in Afghanistan
now for the last 10 years. It’s dangerous, it’s a huge security issue
for women to get on the stage. It’s not within the culture at this point in time. So one
of the challenges that we’ve faced in Afghanistan is creating theatre, by women – for women.
Facilitating their ability to do informational theatre – that is, theatre that carries specific
information to the villages. Information about polio vaccines or health issues or family
violence. This is something that’s seen around the world, it’s totally new to Afghanistan.
One of the experiences that we had, was performing as a women’s theatre group for the women’s prison. 99% of all of our audiences said that they
had never seen theatre ever. Many of them were young brides that had run away from home
because of abusive households. The women in the audiences see themselves in the faces
of the girls on the stage and they are profoundly moved by the idea that these young girls would
come and perform for them, and present them with something that they can express, teaching
them how to express themselves in a brand new way. After our experiences in the jails, they’ll
be going out in the villages, to the IDP camps that surround Herat and reaching women there.
This is the use of theatre, this is how theatre impacts people and, this is how it impacts
me. I am Joanna Sherman and I AM THEATRE. And
the girls that we work with in Afghanistan, they are theatre as well.

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