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Embodying creative resistance against oppressive gender stereotypes and domestic violence, Being B.A.D. is a piece about personal acceptance and redemption from the cycle of abuse. This show explores the lengths to which one decides to take that power back after years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her family and romantic partner. In the wake of the #MeToo and Times Up movements, this applied theatre work is relevant to our community in providing insight into a cathartic resolution and engaging in civil dialogue. The question explored is: can this type of embodied argumentation through character/movement be seen as an alternative way of evolving how narratives of survival are shared, witnessed, and perhaps incite a dialogue in promoting social reform and change?  This proposal for a dual presentation includes both, a performance of solo piece Being B.A.D. and talkback on the “performance of redemption through narrative” praxis, totaling 50 minutes.

Being B.A.D. is an example of the theatrical pedagogical term ‘Activist Theatre’. I adapted Augusto Boal’s Rainbow of Desire model and developed an open process where my own personal experiences of gender and relationship oppression were the focus of the work. This type of applied theatre work supplements the alarming statistics of ‘1 in 4’ women survivors of DV and IPV reported by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) via the CDC, as well as, social and racial disparity, imposed gender roles, and continuing to raise awareness about domestic and intimate partner violence resources available to/for survivors and bystanders—especially on our marginalized communities of color.

Not only as an artist, but as a survivor of an intimate partner violence relationship, I felt it was my duty to shed light on these issues beyond the “statistics” and focus on the narratives of redemption and survival. Using artistic expression as a form of activism clarified for me the manner in which performance can be used to educate people about their attitude and mindset towards current conditions and work towards change. With this presentation, I seek to continue this conversation with participants and develop further strategies, both civil and aesthetic, in addressing these issues of domestic and intimate partner violence awareness and gender roles within modern society.

Presenter Biography
Brittney S. Harris is an Assistant Professor of Theatre in the Department of Communication and Theatre Arts at Old Dominion University. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Georgia. Brittney’s research efforts are supported and documented by the practices of PaR (Performance as Research). Her areas of expertise are in Race and Performance, Performance as Activism, and performative community-engaged programming.

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