The Scenes

Thank you to the Actor/Research/Teachers (A/R/Tors)[1] of Mirror Theatre in the devising and performing of the scenes for this module:
Kevin Hobbs (director), Dani Shae Barkley (stage manager), Taissa Fuke, Bernadette Kahnert, Rosa Moreno-Zutautas, Abby Rollo, Rosie Torres Hernandez, Jordan Tzouhas, Wang Yan (Angie), Xia Xiaoyang (Nick), Joe Norris, Michael Metz, Nadia Ganesh, Sheila O’Keefe-McCarthy, Valerie Michaelson, Lindsey Abrams, Lindsay Detta, & Candice De Freitas Braz

Mirror Theatre continues to provide workshops to assist those focusing on implicit bias and other social issues. If you would like to bring Mirror Theatre in for a workshop, or for more information on Mirror Theatre’s work, please visit

We have developed nine scenes that we invite educators to use as they incorporate teaching on Implicit Bias into their learning spaces. In the following section we include the scenes themselves and also ideas for facilitating/jokering the scenes. We have been intentional in ordering the scenes so that they are scaffolded in terms of how we view their depth of content and risk level for participation. Instructors have the option of using the scenes in a different order if that works better for their learning setting and goals. We have also suggested jokering techniques for each scene based on our own experiences of facilitating them. However, the possibility of how to Joker each scene is virtually unlimited. We think that facilitators will find it useful to consider any number of the jokering techniques that we introduced in the previous chapter. We encourage jokering rather than simply discussion whenever possible as jokering techniques move us beyond preset ideas to consideration of what else might be possible. Discussion can then be utilized more effectively during a debrief of the role.

Table 1 provides an overview of the scenes available, their respective jokering techniques as well as the topic risk level and dramatic skill level. (Both are described in more detail in Table 2.)

Table 1: Scene Layout


Suggested Jokering Techniques

Topic Risk Level

Dramatic Skill Difficulty

1. Who Would You Like to Work With? Voting with Your Feet/Mentimeter and Word Burst Low Low
2. How Can I Help You? Voting with Your Feet/Mentimeter and Word Burst Low Low
3. What’s in a Title? Hot Seating

Voices For and Against

Inner Dialogue

Out Scenes

Voting with your Feet

Low Low to High
4. Donation Voices For and Against

Index Cards

Medium Low
5. Labels Inner Dialogue

Hot Seating

Low Low to High
6. Role Call Hot Seating

Out Scene

High High
7. Missed Interpretation Inner Dialogue

Index Cards

Out Scene

High Low to High
8. But I’m a Good Person Image Theatre

Out Scene

High Low to High
9. Better? Image Theatre

Out Scene

Low to High Low

Learning Outcomes of the Scenes

As we cannot foresee what discussions and discoveries will emerge in this process of co-reciprocal learning, we do not prescribe specific outcomes for each scene. However, the scenes are all intended to be used in a way that is in keeping with our overarching learning objective for this project: that learners who engage with this resource will develop a deepened sense of self-reflexivity about the implicit biases that they themselves hold and what the impacts of addressing (or not addressing) these implicit biases may be.  

This process is important to the principles of participatory theatre: that learning outcomes are not framed as prescriptive goals but as an invitation to discovery. They are framed as questions that can be open up, explored, and reflected on in an infinite number of ways. Indeed, Osberg and Biesta (2008) note the limitations of prescribed goals in educational settings in that they constrain the kinds of discoveries that can emerge in the classroom. By using this approach, we hope that participants will be better equipped to address, identify and interrupt injustices both externally around them and internally inside themselves.

In section four (“What we learned in a large health sciences class”), we provide important contextual information and insights about how to use the scenes effectively and ethically. This includes principles for preparing our learners to engage with the scenes and debriefing with them afterwards.  We hope you will consider this section carefully as a complement to how to use the scenes themselves.


Table 2 describes the organizational flow for each scene and how to use each part.

Table 2: Organization of Scenes



Description These are short descriptions of each scene to give a sense of what the scene is about and what themes will be addressed during facilitation.
Topic Risk Level

We define risk level as the level of risk involved in participating based on our suggested jokering and facilitation techniques. We want to recognize that the risk levels stated are general and can still vary depending on the discussions had and the subject matter of the scene. We suggest that before moving on to medium or high risk scenes that you have done some work with your group to build trust and have practiced in having challenging conversations.

Dramatic Skill Difficulty

Some people are comfortable role playing while others are happy providing input as observers. The activities suggested within the jokering techniques require various degrees of involvement, ranging from discussion to role play. We have ranked them accordingly. All of these have been successfully used with participants who have no acting experience. We encourage participants to explore these scenes by actively engaging as this will enable them to gain insights that cannot be gained through discussion alone.

Watch the Scene YouTube links to videos of the scenes. (All of these videos include subtitles.)
Jokering and Facilitation These are the suggested jokering techniques that we have found to work well as we have used these scenes.
Initiating Questions These are additional discussion questions that can be posed to the group in addition to the jokering. Groups can spend a long time with one individual scene so it is important to budget enough time for discussion.
Virtual Variation For some of the scenes, we suggest virtual modifications.
Spotlight on Jokering Thanks to some volunteer health sciences students from Brock, we have filmed an online workshop to demonstrate what jokering a selection of these scenes could look/sound/feel like. Where appropriate, we have attached a YouTube link to these workshop clips.


As you get ready to use the scenes, here are some logistical considerations. The following list is not a set of instructions, but rather a description of some of the things we have experienced and found useful.

  1. Time: We expect each scene will take anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes depending on the size of your group and the facilitation strategies that you employ. Please leave enough time and space for rich discussions and for sharing that may involve complexity. Rushing through the scenes can be frustrating for everyone who is involved. In the many times we have done this program, we have never run out of things to discuss and we have often wished we had left more time for a discussion to unfold organically.
  2. Scene Order: We have designed the scenes so that you can use all of them progressively or use them one at a time. You will find different scenes useful for exploring different topics. Each scene is labelled with an associated risk factor (see above table). We recommend that you start with lower-risk scenes before moving to medium or higher-risk scenes.
  3. Set-up: We have found it helpful to work in small groups of six to eight people during facilitation. Scenes such as Who Would You Like to Work With? and How Can I Help You? were designed with whole-group facilitation in mind.
  4. Virtual platforms: We have conducted this workshop in both virtual and face-to-face settings. In online settings, we recommend inviting learners to turn their cameras on, but respecting that some may not be comfortable or able to do this. In order to be inclusive of various participation needs, styles and comfort level, we recommend using the chat function as an alternative form of communication. We have included a ‘virtual variation’ for guidance in facilitating some of the scenes.

  1. We use A/R/Tors as an overall descriptor for Mirror Theatre members.


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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