The Next Normal: An Interview with Katy Rubin

The Next Normal: Katy Rubin

In this episode we speak with Katy Rubin, an artist, facilitator, and founder of Theatre of the Oppressed NYC. As a nonprofit, Theatre of the Oppressed NYC partners with communities that face discrimination to spark transformative action through theatre.

For the last decade, Katy has dedicated herself to illuminating the power that disenfranchised communities truly have. As a white leader, Katy has grappled with her position of power and how much space she does, and should be, taking up. We discuss questions of power dynamics, who gets to pose those questions, and how to re-shape systems for the next normal. For Katy, it is a constant evaluation of how you are perceived, how you show up, and how you elevate those around you that can truly change the status quo.

Listen in as Katy explores the challenges of systemic flaws in power balance, re-designing the process to change the outcome, and how we can move towards new narratives.


What You’ll Learn in This Episode:

·       [2:23] About Katy, Legislative Theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed.

·       [4:35] Shaping power dynamics and what is normal.

·       [6:13] Grappling with white privilege, power, and space.

·       [8:30] Are we moving forward towards equity or are the changes situational?

·       [12:00] Learning to see the systemic flaws over blaming single people.

·       [15:18] What is the next step to creating different power narratives?

·       [19:00] Changing the design to change the system.

·       [22:50] Advice for re-imagining the next normal.


Key quotes:

·       “Theatre of the oppressed… is about flipping the dynamic of power in terms of who gets to pose problems, who gets to ask or state what the problems are, who gets to pose questions. Also, who gets to propose solutions and who gets to hold decision makers accountable.”

·       “I’ve really been thinking about what is the value add I can bring to a process and weighing that against the space that I take up. So, really being thoughtful and really critical of how much space I do need to take up.”

·       “My dream would be that those leaders … say out loud ‘should I be in this job? Should you be in this job? Should we be taking up this space?’”

·       ‘When we talk about systems, I think that maybe all of those things are wrong, because they are holding up power. Power in one person or few people has no choice to be bad; it has no choice but to be harmful.”

·       “It doesn’t have to be a theatrical event. Who is in the room? How is the room set up? What’s the design of who’s in the room and what’s the design of the process that will lead us to a differently designed result?”


Resources Mentioned:

·       Theatre of The Oppressed NYC

·       Katy Rubin