Approach #1: System Change
Written by Acting Apprentice and Chorus Cast member Jake Simonds.
Every night at HOW TO END POVERTY, the audience gives away $1,000 of money from the ticket sales to a poverty-fighting organization. At the end of the show, they vote on which approach to fighting poverty they think is most effective, and the money goes to an organization which practices the chosen approach. The five approaches we identify are Daily Needs, Making Opportunities, Education, System Change, and Direct Aid. Here is more information about System Change:
Advocates of system change see poverty as more than just an immediate lack of material wealth, but rather a cyclical, often multi-generational lack of not just resources, but opportunities to escape the cycle. When you define poverty that way, ending it becomes a bit more complicated. It is not just about getting resources to those who need them, it is about changing the system that creates such needs.
Critics of the System Change approach would say that the approach gives money to lobbyists and lawyers instead of towards the people who need it. That argument isn't false, but it's not the whole story either. If our audience decides to give to system change, that money may go to organizations lobbying the government for more affordable housing, affordable childcare, an increased minimum wage, or more rights for the homeless. Or, it might be raising awareness about unfair treatment of particular groups in public schools, and generating community support for a solution.
Whether or not you believe System Change is the best solution for ending poverty, it has been proven that certain policies, widespread business practices, and prejudices do trap individuals, communities, and families in poverty. There are many examples, one particularly poignant one is housing discrimination. The radio program This American Life did an illuminating hour on the subject: http://m.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/512/house-rules
Conceived and Written by Michael Rohd and Sojourn Theatre
Directed by Liam Kaas-Lentz
How To End Poverty In 90 Minutes (with 99 people you may or may not know)
February 4 – February 22
602 NE Prescott St, Portland, OR 97211
Box office: (503) 488-5822
All tickets: $40 (+$3 ticketing fee)
Rush Tickets: $20, cash only at the door, night of the show
Arts for All Tickets (EBT card): $5, cash only at the door, night of the show, up to two tickets
Each and every show, 25 tickets are given to local organizations and to individuals who are unable to afford tickets to the show. Email our Director of Community Partnerships, Elliot Leffler, for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Which approach will YOU choose? Come spend with us.