Theatre of the Oppressed Training UK

25 April to 2 May 2018

Theatre of the Oppressed is a range of techniques, games and exercises, using embodied narrative to activate the empowerment and liberation of individuals and their communities.

This training will enable you to explore the forms and tools of Theatre of the Oppressed, get skilled-up and confident in applying them, and to share them with others. The approach was developed by Augusto Boal in South America, and has since been used all over the world in the building of community, to dynamize social engagement, and to support individuals to realise their creative potential for personal and social transformation. This training is a collaboration between Reboot the Roots and the Ulex Project, hosted at High Heathercombe in the UK.


Theatre of the Oppressed is a range of techniques, games and exercises, using embodied narrative to activate the empowerment and liberation of individuals and their communities. The approach was developed by Augusto Boal in South America, and has since been used all over the world in the building of community, to dynamize social engagement, and to support individuals to realise their creative potential for personal and social transformation.

Theatre of the Oppressed creates space for a rehearsal for life. It is a way of analysing the power dynamics of our society and our personal relationships, purporting that personal problems are social problems. We will explore a range activities to develop focus, generate solutions to real problems, create dialogue where before there was only monologue, and ultimately “humanise humanity” by enabling people to develop the skills and faculties to liberate themselves and others. We will develop somatic and energetic awareness in the personal, interpersonal, and political dimensions

Theatre of the Oppressed is a potent tool in the facilitation of group work, community empowerment, and the holding of liberatory conversations. This training lays the foundation praxis for you to explore the forms and tools of the key tools of Image and Forum Theatre, as well as a host of games, techniques and exercises underpinned with the theory and philosophy of Boal’s work.

Throughout the training we shall also be bringing in aspects of Mindfulness – or Attentiveness as we prefer to call it – as an active tool to support the mind’s capacity to observe itself, disrupt old patterns, reflect, and transform. What we give our attention to creates our reality and to ensure that we do not perpetuate the injustices and oppressions we seek to change we must develop compassion and care for ourselves. By cultivating a radical act of noticing this taps into our intrinsic potential to grow more resilient which in turn offers power and sustainability to our social change work, and opens up more possibilities in our relationship with others.

Together, we can learn from our past, to act now in our present, to create the future we desire.

This week long training will explore two fundamental aspects of Boal’s work:

• Forum Theatre – a rich and full narrative form which enables groups to explore issues, and to look for transformative opportunities and points of intervention within their own lives.

• Image Theatre – a set of simple forms that enable groups to hold meaningful and exploratory conversations. It is a highly participative approach that supports rich inclusivity, and is able to meet diverse needs and communication styles.

Participants can expect to gain:

• a good understanding of the principles and values that underpin Theatre of the Oppressed
• fundamentals of the application and enactment of a variety of Image Theatre techniques
• the knowledge and experience to devise, perform and analyse a piece of Forum Theatre
• key skills needed to use a range of Theatre of the Oppressed tools in a variety of situations (e.g. community empowerment, campaign development, group work facilitation, conflict transformation)
• experience of mindfulness-based and reflective approaches to support self-awareness and increase emotional resilience
• methods of opening up and holding spaces for exploring the emotional dimensions of activist experience – including strong and difficult emotion
• an understanding of the neurobiology of compassion and how to remain socially engaged to welcome the wholeness of life
• a range of compassion practices for developing emotional regulation during challenging encounters
• training in techniques for observation and understanding of the systems we live in, along with tools which integrate embodied and somatic approaches to personal and group change.

Due to the financial approach of the host organisation, this course is not part of the Ulex Solidarity Economy. For details of cost see the High Heathercombe website. We don’t want lack of finances to be a barrier, so some bursary places are available. For an application form and more information contact us at info@ulexproject.org

Suggested Contribution
(see the details of our approach to Solidarity Economics for details)

The Team

Our Name

Ulex: Latin (argelaga Catalan, gorse English) noun:

1. A thorny-evergreen flowering shrub, with a high capacity for regeneration and resilience. Its seedpods open in contact with fire and it reshoots from charred stumps. A successionary plant that grows well under challenging conditions. It improves soil fertility through nitrogen fixing, preparing the way for renewed biodiversity.

2. A traditional choice for igniting fires. Burns hot and bright.

3. A networked project adding nutrition and fertility to European social movements through training and capacity building. It kindles the realisation of social justice, ecological intelligence, and cognitive vitality.