Moving the needle
As a participant in Leigh's trainings, I was able to understand components of power and privilege that had never been clear to me before, particularly assisting me to notice language and thought patterns that were unawarely exclusive..
I was so inspired that I hired Leigh to provide training for the Coro Leadership New York program, a tri-sector group of 50+ mid-career professionals focusing on civic engagement. His ability to pivot using a wide toolbox of activities, dialogue and reflection in a complex environment and develop curricula that spoke directly to our needs has moved the needle on our conversations farther than I thought was possible. He is funny, warm, thoughtful and able to invite participants out of their comfort zones without raising defensiveness. He gets what it means to facilitate learning on a profound level, going beyond teaching or training in academic concepts. I look forward to many more years of working together.
Program Director, Leadership New York, Coro New York Leadership Center
Challenging and supportive
I've had the great honor of learning from Leigh's facilitation and Theatre of Oppressed practice, and witnessing the ways in which he holds flexible, compassionate space in a room, challenges and supports workshop participants, and crafts containers for rigorous inquiry into dynamics of privilege and oppression. Leigh's ability to work collaboratively with multiple kinds of groups and stakeholders, scaffold learning through dialogue and action, and move people into expansive learning about structural oppression is phenomenal. As a trainer working for social justice education myself, I find Leigh's work to be complex, participatory, transformative and hugely inspirational. His facilitation is his art form, and it's beautiful.
Senior Trainer, RaceForward
Communications Manager, EmcArts and ArtsFwd
Shaking things up
As an educator working in sexual health, the workshop added to my metaphorical toolbox in a profound way. In Leigh’s workshops I had multiple “lightbulb” moments where all of a sudden the pieces clicked together and I understood gender, theater, and how to work collaboratively towards health in entirely new ways.
Anyone working in education or social justice needs to be an ongoing student, and Leigh is the kind of big hearted, fiercely intelligent teacher that pushes all of the people in the room to put their ego aside and continue to grow. I am grateful for the growth I experienced as a result, and I cannot recommend Leigh’s work highly enough. You will leave the room vastly more prepared to be a problem-posing troublemaker in a world that needs more people shaking things up.
Lecturer, UCLA Department of World Arts & Cultures / Dance
Director of Special Projects, UCLA Art & Global Health Center
Eye-opening and life-altering
The minute I was put in touch with Leigh, I knew I was in good hands. Leigh's knowledge and care shown through as he helped BewilderArts craft a workshop that was powerful and relevant. At every stage of the planning process, up through the unfolding of the workshop, Leigh was astutely aware of the subtleties of privilege and how to unpack them in a group setting. Our participants found the workshop to be eye-opening and life-altering, and have since sought out similar spaces of dialogue and challenge.
Director of BewilderArts
Sincere and engaging
Leigh's facilitation was sincere and engaging, and his approach created space for Fellows to participate fully and with vulnerability. They were able to discuss topics that related to leadership and authority, power and privilege and the impact of race and intersectional identities have on these issues on cohort, policy, and systems levels. Fellows' feedback on the session was positive and highlighted the deep conversation topics, physical activity and Leigh's creative and open energy.
I am incredibly thankful to work with Leigh because of the opportunity he gives me to continue to learn as a facilitator and ally as well as the work he is able to accomplish with our Fellows. He is a valued partner in this work and a mainstay in our program curriculum.
Director, Fellows Program in Public Affairs, Coro New York Leadership Center
Strong intersectional analysis
Leigh brings a strong intersectional analysis that combines issues of race, gender, power and privilege that has been helpful in allowing participants to push themselves and see the impact of their identity in the work they are trying to accomplish. As a seasoned trainer, Leigh leans into these issues with humor, conviction and a sense of urgency. His background in using Theatre of the Oppressed techniques brings a unique approach that is not only fun, but allows individuals to explore these critical issues with ease and in space that promotes community and action.
Independent Diversity and Equity Consultant
Co-Founder of CARLE Institute
Co-Director of Border Crossers
Exciting, innovative and effective
S. Leigh Thompson is one of the most exciting, innovative, and effective Theatre of the Oppressed practitioners it has been my pleasure to work with. His workshops challenge participants to think deeply about issues in their own society, culture, or organization and further challenge them to actively make change.
Leigh studied with Augusto Boal and other practitioners, garnering from them the core principles, politics, and techniques of TO, but he has continued to develop them in ways that guide those with whom he works to consider broad and systemic issues in personal and optimistic ways. His examinations of power and influence reveal his critical consideration of TO and his intelligent expansion of TO’s games and exercises.
Leigh’s critical acumen and emotional power extend to his administrative work as President of the Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed board. As consultant and task organizer he has helped guide PTO toward an expansion of its constituency while demanding that the organization remain responsive and flexible.
Co-Founder, Center for Applied Theatre
Welcomed and validated
S. Leigh Thompson created a meticulously safe space for me and my fellow workshop participants to express and explore our opinions and emotions. Through several games and exercises, he guided us through potentially uncomfortable situations with ease and expertise. He made every participant feel welcome and validated throughout the whole process.
Participant at Actor Warriors & Artivists BewilderArts