Empowering social change through the power of the heart, the fire of the imagination, and the dynamism of the body.
This week long event will bring together a group of richly talented facilitators and practitioners to share and explore creative tools that can be used in a variety of social change settings. It will take a cross/multi-disciplinary approach, drawing on theatre, story, image, dance, and music – and apply these to community empowerment, campaign development, and direct action.
A key strand will explore Theatre of the Oppressed – a range of techniques, games and exercises, using embodied narrative to support 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.
Combining the Ulex Creative Tools for Social Change Training with our ongoing Theatre of the Oppressed course we’ll:
There will also be opportunity to take a deeper dive in to Theatre of the Oppressed strand:
“Theatre is a form of knowledge; it should and can also be a means of transforming society. Theatre can help us build our future, rather than just waiting for it.” – Augusto Boal, Games For Actors & Non-Actors
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, aswell as a host of games, techniques and exercises underpinned with the theory and philosophy of Boal’s work.
In essence, Theatre of the Oppressed utilises theatre in order to 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. It 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.
This week long training will explore two fundamental aspects of Boal’s work:
In this strand participants can expect to gain:
“When does a session of The Theatre of the Oppressed end? Never – since the objective is not to close a cycle, to generate a catharsis, or to end a development. On the contrary, its objective is to encourage autonomous activity, to set a process in motion, to stimulate transformative creativity, to change spectators into protagonists. And it is precisely for these reasons that the Theatre of the Oppressed should be the initiator of changes the culmination of which is not the aesthetic phenomenon but real life… its objective is to become integrated into reality, into life.” – Boal
We’ll be hosting this at a venue in Catalunya that is a little closer to Barcelona. We’re using several additonal venues during spring 2021, to enable us to deal with rescheduling casued by the covid pandemic during 2020.
George is a practitioner of the Theatre of the Oppressed, writer, performance poet and natural farmer who has travelled extensively across Europe and Asia working with groups ranging from the homeless in London, subsistence farmers in India, victims of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, to recovering heroin addicts and street kids in Kuala Lumpur. As founder of the training collective Reboot The Roots they have a decade of experience as a facilitator and educator in fields ranging from TESOL and drama therapy to drug rehabilitation and conflict resolution. They qualified in their Certificate in Joker Training and Certificate in Rainbow of Desire whilst working with Cardboard Citizens in 2010.
Ruth Cross is co-founder of Eroles Project – an international learning for action centre, and, Asociación La Bolina – a visionary intercultural initiative working to regenerate land and lives through creating social integration and sustainable livelihoods for locals, migrants and refugees in El Valle, Andalucia, Spain. She is the Artistic Director of Cross Collaborations, an award winning arts for change immersive theatre company.
Ruth is an experienced arts activist, social theatre maker, researcher and educator specialising in instigating transformative and regenerative change. She can be found directing immersive performance with migrants and refugees, creating participatory arts action campaigns and coordinating cross-disciplinary projects with organisations, decision-makers, civil society and local communities.
For the last 10 years Ruth has facilitated capacity building training with activists and social movements. She is a research contributor with Schumacher Research in Action community, is a member of the international Delicate Activism community and of Social Arts network ImaginAction. As well as a collaborator with Asociación Solidaria Andaluza de Desarrollo (ASAD).
Ed has been facilitating creative arts projects in education for the last 15 years in schools, community groups and residential courses. He co-founded Movingsounds developing innovative arts based education projects that address environmental and social issues. He is also a lead facilitator and trainer with Lifebeat UK running transformative residential camps with young people and runs trainings for PYE Global Partnership for Youth Empowerment internationally. He is a musician, artist and performer but also a carpenter and sailor, deeply passionate about the power of both creativity and nature connection to bring about positive change in this crazy world.
Bea Xu is a Chinese-British psychic worker based in London. Using collaborative play, speculative fiction and therapeutic intervention they design and means-test integrated, sustainable and post-capitalist realities with live participants. Bea’s work is intuitive, visionary and narrative-driven – foregrounding blood magic, decolonized time and non-binary logic with an experimental, EcoGothic focus. Informed by their studies and clinical experience at London’s CCPE as a trainee integrative, transpersonal psychotherapist, Bea is the creatrix of ritual laboratory LUNARCHY 2.0 and recently completed the 9th Alternative Education Programme at Rupert in Vilnius. They perform with FemmeDaemonium, clowned with the RenewRebels and attended Creative Tools for Social Change at Ulex in 2018 – having since collaborated with Furtherfield Gallery, Omsk Social Club, Ittah Yodah, FemmeDaemonium and Heal Her Project, with work selected for Podium; Tech Arts Gallery; the 14th Baltic Triennial; IAM Festival; UNFIX Festival; Solo Show; Artlake Festival; Virtual Futures; ONCA Gallery; Arts of the Working Class; gal-dem; daikon*; NewCon Press and Gods & Radicals Press.
Nina (they/she) is a participatory artist, community organiser and political theatre maker. Theatre of the Oppressed has been a core part of their practice since they trained in India with Jana Sankriti in 2018. They are an artistic director of queer led theatre company, You Should see the Other Guy, who work on and off stage to tackle social injustice and make raucous musical verbatim plays. Nina has designed and delivered multiple TO training programmes in activist, community and academic settings, often combining TO with song making to collaboratively explore themes around power and identity. Their current fascination is thinking about TO as a practical manifestation of queer theory and asking: Is Theatre of the Oppressed queer?
Reboot the Roots is a charity that promotes social inclusion through the arts. It uses theatre, music and workshops to support people who are denied their rights to full, happy and active participation in society. They believe that creative tools for social transformation can enable people to participate fully and equally in society.
building collective agency - theory and practice
a holistic approach
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.