Performing Policy: The Justice Project

Performing Policy: The Justice Project

January - May 2020


The USC School of Dramatic Arts’ Institute for Theatre & Social Change (SDA/ITSC) and USC Price School of Public Policy are joining forces with the grassroots community organization Healing Dialogue and Action (HDA) to explore restorative justice through performance.

Following a months-long collaborative residency, dramatic arts students, policy students, and partners from HDA who have experienced the prison system will co-create and perform a play that addresses incarceration as a response to violent crime. Audiences are encouraged to interrupt, alter, and even enter the narrative to imagine their own solutions and pathways onstage but also in reality.

The performances will be followed with conversations, and repurposed with a smaller cast of community partners, stakeholders, and USC students to be shared with U.S. Representative Karen Bass (Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus) during the summer, with an intention to increase public engagement in the legislative process.

This final “Legislative Theatre” event will again see the play staged and interrupted by audience members, towards the public co-creation of new legislation that may better, and more systematically, address the issues raised by the performance.


  • Combines theatre arts, public policy awareness, and community expertise to construct scenarios that show the challenges confronting proponents of Restorative Justice in contemporary Los Angeles and across the nation
  • Utilizes audience interactions to support a critical shift in policy and legislation that will positively impact the criminal justice system moving forward