Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD) creates performances and multidisciplinary artworks that connect the experience of people living in poverty to the social forces that shape their lives and communities. LAPD’s works express the realities, hopes, dreams and rights of people who live and work in L.A.’s Skid Row.
Henriëtte Brouwers is a performer, director, teacher and producer. She studied dance and theater in the Netherlands, corporeal mime with Entiènne Décroux and theater of the oppressed with Augusto Boal in Paris. Henriëtte is the Associate Director of Los Angeles Poverty Department since 2000 and collaborator/producer of RFKinEKY, a community-based re-enactment of Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 trip to Kentucky to investigate poverty in Appalachia. She is featured in artist Bill Viola’s renowned The Passions series, which has been exhibited extensively in major museums throughout the world. Henriëtte Brouwers developed the Weeping Women performance series based on Mexican legends. She directed Pomona College students in ‘Weeping Women and War’, ‘La Llorona, Weeping Women on Skid Row’ with LAPD, performed on Skid Row and at a national conference on women and poverty at Scripps College, and ‘La Llorona, Weeping Women of Echo Park’ with a group of Latino immigrant Women in Echo Park. She received a HOTHOUSE project grant from UCLA’s WAC department to develop the next step in this series, which is inspired by the legend of La Loba: Wolf Woman.
John Malpede is a director, actor, activist, and writer. “A nationally acclaimed theater radical and social visionary, Malpede has been confounding audience expectations for two decades,” said Linda Eisenstein in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. In 1985, Malpede founded and continues to direct the Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD), the first performance group in the nation comprised primarily of homeless and formerly homeless people. LAPD’s mission is to create performances that connect lived experience to the social forces that shape the lives and communities of people living in poverty. Recent work includes LA Poverty Department’s State of Incarceration, co-directed by Malpede and Henriëtte Brouwers and performed at The Box Gallery, Highways Performance Space, and the Radar LA Festival; as a collaborating performer in Wunderbaum’s Looking for Paul, at the Redcat Theater; and Bright Futures directed by Malpede and performed by Nell Breyer, Malpede, and Tanya Selvaratnam at MIT and NYC’s Performa Festival.