Skip to main content


The Theater of Change Forum

General Programming

  • Registration required. See details.

At a time when the United States faces growing inequality, mass incarceration, and broken immigration systems, public policies and politics are working against the active public engagement, collaboration, and trust required to build a just society.

The Theater of Change is a groundbreaking methodology developed as a collaboration between the Broadway Advocacy Coalition and the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School. The process brings together high-level artists, law and policy students and experts, and directly impacted advocates to deepen connections and bridge gaps of disconnect and lack of understanding. Participants ultimately collaborate as equal partners and create arts-based performance pieces that have an engagement strategy to target specific areas and policies.

Please join as at a public event featuring Broadway performers on the night of Friday, October 18th at 7pm at Altschul Auditorium, exploring the relationship between the arts, law, and advocacy. Register here.

We are looking for graduate and professional school students in the Law School, School of International and Public Affairs, Teachers’ College, Journalism School of Social Work, Public Health, School of the Arts, and General Studies to participate in a three-day forum, taking place at Columbia Law School on the afternoon of Friday, October 18th and during the days of October 19th and 20th. Participation will be by application, which can be found here. Participants will have the opportunity to join one of four groups, each with a different policy area: education equity, parole and re-entry, community economic development, and political participation of formerly incarcerated people. Participants will:

  • Learn the essentials of narrative storytelling from Broadway professionals with credits from Hamilton to Waitress to Fun Home
  • Dissect the policy landscape of this issue area and the strategies involved in existing campaigns to push these policies towards justice for those directly impacted.
  • Explore how the arts can be strategically employed in these projects to amplify impact of ongoing work, and create quick, collaborative performance pieces with an engagement strategy, to be performed in “theaters of change” where policy making happens.
  • Plant seeds for future collaborations and ongoing work

Workshop moderators include Ari Afsar (Broadway actor and advocate; Eliza Schuyler in Hamilton), Ben Wexler (2019 Jonathan Larson Grant Winner), Devon Simmons (2019 Soros Justice Fellow), Susan Sturm (George M. Jaffin Professor of Law and Social Responsibility, Columbia Law School), Ester Fuchs (Professor of International and Public Affairs and Political Science at Columbia SIPA), Tyrone Davis, Jr. (Waitress on Broadway), and more.

Sponsors: Just Societies; The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities; Columbia Law School; The Center for Institutional and Social Change; School of International and Public Affairs