Theatre and the Rise of Human Rights

Mary E Luckhurst, Emilie Morin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


It may be that, in keeping with global political aspirations, the twenty-first century will become the century of human rights.1 As many voices advocate as oppose such an aspiration, and the worlds of theatre and performance are no exception: the empowering qualities of theatre have been acknowledged by many, especially in relation to vulnerable communities.2 In the wake of the human rights legislation that emerged after World War II and the United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, theatre and performance artists have increasingly promoted specific human rights issues in their work and sought to establish special ties with various forms of human rights advocacy.3 The theatre artists who are connected with human rights are myriad, and some of the most celebrated include Augusto Boal (Brazil), renowned for his ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’ practices; Ariel Dorfman (Argentina); Athol Fugard and Yael Farber (South Africa); Václav Havel (Czech Republic); Harold Pinter (Great Britain); Nawal El Sadaawi (Egypt); Farzaneh Aghaeipour (Iran); Marcie Rendon and Cherrie Moraga (United States); Mangai (India); Nighat Rizvi, Madeeha Gauhar and Shahid Nadeem (Pakistan); and Juliano Mer Khamis, who was murdered in 2011 outside his theatre in the Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin, on the West Bank.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTheatre and Human Rights After 1945
Subtitle of host publicationThings Unspeakable
EditorsMary Luckhurst, Emilie Morin
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-36230-8
ISBN (Print)978-1-349-57874-0
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Social Justice, Political Theatre, Applied Theatre, Cultural Memory


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