Peacebuilding and the Arts

​​Acting Together Anniversary: A Celebration of Transforming Conflict through Performance

banner with human portraits

Banner design by Allison Lund.

By Polly O. Walker, Associate Professor Emeritus, Peace and Conflict Studies, Juniata College

“Acting Together offers us a unique gift in the pursuit of recovering our sense of humanity in a world too often torn with violation. For the first time on the world stage the authors have gathered the truth of lived experience and the truth of empirical observation in reference to the extraordinary development and use of theatre before, during and after conflict.”
-John Paul Lederach, Foreword to Acting Together Anthology.

The Acting Together Project, a collaboration between the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts at Brandeis (PBA) and Theatre Without Borders (TWB), is celebrating ten years of performances’ contributions to the creative transformation of conflict. Drawing on the work of courageous and skilled peacebuilders and artists in both organizations, the Acting Together project generated a two-volume anthology, a documentary film, and a toolkit that includes short videos and print resources. The project explored the role of theatre and ritual in transforming conflict in the midst of direct violence, in the aftermath of mass violence and in building more just and inclusive communities. For the last decade, these resources have been integrated into educational, networking and training events in regions around the world. The documentary has been translated into Arabic, Hebrew, Sinhala, Tamil, Spanish and French.

There are several initiatives planned to celebrate Acting Together’s decade of impact, and to deepen and extend the reach of Acting Together on the World Stage resources.

  • The program in Peacebuilding and the Arts at Brandeis University is calling for short proposals from members of linguistic communities interested in creating new translations of the film and disseminating the new version to respective communities. The program in Peacebuilding and the Arts is offering a $250 stipend for translation. These opportunities are made possible by a generous gift from Elaine Reuben (Brandeis ’63), who has steadfastly supported translation and dissemination activities for Acting Together for many years. To submit a proposal for a translation of the film, please complete a survey regarding your interest.
  • In addition to expanding the linguistic reach of Acting Together resources, with the leadership of Polly O. Walker, we will expand the collection of teaching and training resources in the collection to include more content arising from the Conflict Transformation field. We will announce these new resources in Peacebuilding and the Arts Now as they become available.
  • In collaboration with Theatre Without Borders we are also exploring ways to bring central contributors together in a reunion to explore the impact of Acting Together and to envision ways of enriching and extending the reach of the anthology, documentary and toolkit.
  • As part of the 10th Anniversary celebrations, Allison Lund, the filmmaker, has produced  a dynamic new preview short of the documentary and a visually compelling website that includes video shorts, training resources, biographies about ATWS authors, and links for purchasing downloads of the film. One particularly useful resource that is available on the ATWS website is Planning Peacebuilding Performance Initiatives.

We invite you to follow the progress of the 10th Anniversary celebrations through this newsletter. If you have questions about any of the initiatives, or would like further information about them, please contact Dr. Polly Walker at