The First Worldwide Theatrical Act of Dissent

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I teach Operation Lysistrata in my theatre history class, — Watching Operation Lysistrata vividly brings home to us that the forces of love, (OK sex), might possibly be stronger than the forces of destruction — if we act!

Dr. Cheryl Black
Associate Professor/
Director of Graduate Studies
Theatre History Studies
University of Missouri

We watch individuals become activists, find their political voices, and act on their convictions. We witness how divisive a force this war is, as people from varying sides of the political spectrum encounter one another through this event. And we see Aristophanes' play as a mirror that reflects contemporary culture and offers a way to talk about power and its abuses in our society.

Megan Lewis, PhD
Assistant Professor
Theatre Arts & Dance
University of Minnesota

In January 2003, Kathryn Blume and Sharron Bower, two actresses from New York City thought to organize readings of the ancient Greek play by Aristophanes, Lysistrata, as a protest of the imminent preemptive war on Iraq.

Originally conceived as a local event, over the course of a several weeks, word of the Project quickly gained momentum and became a worldwide happening for peace. On March 3, 2003 nearly 1,100 simultaneous productions of Lysistrata were performed in 59 countries around the globe.

Operation Lysistrata illuminates the way in which two women transformed their individual aspirations for peace into a movement which allowed the global community to share in their vision, using grassroots activism, conflict resolution, community building and the role of art in a functioning democracy. The organized readings of the ancient Greek play, all performed on March 3, 2003 was extraordinarily successful. Celebrities as well as small theatre companies world-wide turned out in force for this unique event.

Tapes of readings poured in from England, Iceland, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Italy, Montreal, Nova Scotia, the U.S.A. From a Kurdish Refugee Camp in Northern Greece to Havana, Cuba, to Moscow, Idaho, all to document this once in a lifetime and truly amazing experience.

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