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Instinctive Theatre


Thank you for stopping by, my name is Maryam Foye. I am a NOLA based artist determined to participate in shifting policy and access to resources in New Orleans' Black communities.  The technique combines devised+spontaneous theatre, music, poetry and Black centered ritual.

There is an interest meeting this weekend at the ACC on Bayou Rd. 


We are looking for artists, educators, organizers, parents, retired etc. Anyone can be trained.  No experience necessary.


Especially looking for long time residents and natives. Having people that reflect the community we serve intimately is very important to this project. 


During the training process we are hoping to remove any barriers to this free training including reasonable travel stipends, onsite childcare and food.


Thank you in advance for sharing.


All love,




The Solid Ground Ensemble is a project of HBC430, led by Maryam Foye. This is Foye's third US based ensemble, but the first to practice her performance technique, Instinctive Theatre (IT). IT was designed by Foye after eight years of exploring and re-imagining her previous work in Playback Theatre. The aim of this ensemble is to add to the existing ecosystem of citizen artists by creating socially inspired works, supporting advocacy organizations and transforming everyday residents into creative community ambassadors.


Foye has been training and visioning with talented artists and diasporic communities in the US and abroad (South + West Africa and the UK) since 2014. 

Guiding Thoughts

  • Community-based art requires creation through participation, the art must have a community in order to create. 

  • This type of theatre holds a social, political and ancestral agenda. We amplify the voice of Black people by memorializing and magnifying our lived experiences.

  • Every production is a tapestry of a community’s stories and values.

  • The lived experiences of Black people should be better used as a tool in the fight for Black liberation, equity and justice.

About the Work


Instinctive Theatre (IT) was developed by HBC430 founder, Maryam Foye. The method uses the following performance components: 


  • Devised Theatre: Devising is loosely defined as the process of collaboratively creating a new work without a pre-existing script wherein the collaborators are also the performers. These devised pieces are informed by data collected through interviews, surveys and/or local events.

  • Spontaneous Theatre: The process of playing unrehearsed, improvised parts in the theater utilizing long and short forms to capture and replay audience supplied stories. Inspired by Playback theatre, these forms utilize drama, comedy, music, movement, poetry and song to replay lived experiences offered by audience members.

  • Ritual: Ritual in this sense speaks to incorporating practices that reveal and amplify our ancestral relationships through nature, energy and faith.  

  • Scarves and masks: IT is designed to have the flexibility of street performance. Street performance is a form of  art that can be performed anywhere, from university campus to street corners. To support this accessible form, scarves and masks are used to create environment and serve as costumes.

  • Community-based participatory research: When partnered with organizations and initiatives the ensemble enlists community members to conduct research with the goal of devising strategies to resolve it. Instinctive theatre is a research tool that replaces academic and other professional research with research done by community members, so that research results both come from and go directly back to the people who need them most and can make the best use of them. In these relationships our performances collect community experiences on specific issues affecting said community. In this context a community is  defined as: a body of persons or nations having a common history or common social, economic, and political interests. 


Our events seek to answer questions such as: 

  • What do the participants need?

  • What is actually happening?

  • How is this issue affecting the individual? The family? The community?

  • What resources do they currently have?

  • Who do they trust?


An example of an IT event is:

The experience of a short devised piece on the theme that summarizes the ensemble’s attitude towards the theme. The space will then move into fellowship where audience members are asked to share an experience related to the opening piece with their neighbor, someone they don’t know. When everyone has had time to share the host will ask questions of the audience meant to elicit their personal stories. The ensemble will honor each teller by retelling their experience through IT forms. Discussions led by the host will support the audience in creating a community vision statement based on their needs as they relate to the theme. The night ends with the ensemble performing a longer form that imagines the reality of the community vision statement in action.

Learn more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Solid Ground
Interest Meeting

November 19 & 20, 2022


11 am to 2 pm


Andre Cailloux PAC

2541 Bayou Rd,

New Orleans, LA 70119

What to Expect?

11:00 am Welcome + Snacks

11:30 am Conversation on Instinctive Theatre goals + Your individual goals for our community (Please review the information on this page and come prepared with any questions, comments or concerns)

12:30 pm Group Activity: Introduction to Instinctive Theatre forms

1:30 pm Open floor for questions or comments post activity 

It is not mandatory to stay the whole time. If you need to come for the meeting on Saturday but participate in the activity on Sunday... that is fine, too. 

If you want to be involved but cannot make these dates email


Thanks for registering!

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