3, 2, 1 Action: Legislative Theater

Participatory democracy on stage

Beginning in 2019, I’m working with government, community, and institutional leaders to introduce Legislative Theater nationally, promoting transparency, creativity, and accessibility in the US political system. Legislative Theater brings constituents, policymakers, and advocates together to impact policies, practices and place-making.

Read this report for case studies, policy impacts, and testimonials from elected officials.

How does it work? #WatchActVote

WATCH: In collaboration with local partners, community members create and present original plays based on lived experiences. These plays, which can be created over several days or weeks, address timely, local issues.

ACT: In public performance forums, audiences are invited to improvise alternative responses to systemic problems onstage. Together with advocates and stakeholders, these ideas are then developed into specific and feasible policy proposals.

VOTE: Iterative public events lead to debate and amendments, until the proposals are ready for a community vote. Finally, policymakers (e.g. city council, the mayor’s office, institutional leadership) carry these proposals forward to their respective chambers–using theater to spark concrete change.

“Legislative Theater reinforces my belief that constituents should have a direct impact on forming policies, setting budget priorities and determining legislative actions. It also offers a practical experience for both the constituent participants and the elected or administrative officials present. We need to continue to increase the number of opportunities for elected officials, agency personnel, and City staff members to participate directly in Legislative Theater.”

— Carlos Menchaca, NYC Council Member

Can you sum that up for me?

  • Replicable, innovative and effective community-engagement tool
  • Equitable, transparent and participatory legislative process
  • Practicable and unique policy solutions in response to local challenges
  • Increased civic education and voter engagement

"Yesterday’s legislative theater was amazing. It’s such a brilliant format for community outreach, engagement and education. This process is an innovative and effective model for community-based policy-making that should be replicated.”

— Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan Associate Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF & President, National Lawyers Guild