5 Hot Seating

Hot seating is a useful way for a group to explore and gain more insights about a particular character’s motivation in a scene. Hot seating involves a volunteer taking a seat and assuming the role of a character. The audience is then free to ask the character open questions while the Joker acts as a mediator. Depending on how the volunteer develops the character, the audience gains much more insight into what might be going on in the character.

Considerations while Jokering

  • Being in the hot seat can be a high-pressure task for some learners. Consider taking on the role yourself for certain characters. Do not force or cajole people to take the hot seat.
  • After hot seating the character, replay the scene with the new insights that have been gained. Explore how the scene plays differently.
  • Exercise caution when it comes to role-playing. While we want to encourage active participation, we must also be aware that when we take on a role, we are doing so with dignity and respect for the diversity of each particular character. Please exercise care to avoid misrepresentations and stereotypes. It is important to discuss this openly with the co-learners in your group. If the character to be hot-seated is marginalized based upon their race, gender, ability status, etc., then non-marginalized persons should not play these roles. (Please see the video in Chapter 2 for more thoughts on representation from team member Nadia.)

Examples of Hot Seating

  • What’s in a Title? (See Chapter 14)
  • Labels (See Chapter 16)
  • Role Call (See Chapter 17)


Haunting our Biases: Using Participatory Theatre to Interrupt Implicit Bias Copyright © 2022 by Kevin Hobbs; Michael Martin Metz; Nadia Ganesh; Sheila O'Keefe-McCarthy; Joe Norris; Sandy Howe; and Valerie Michaelson. All Rights Reserved.

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