Theatre of the Oppressed & Creative Tools for Change

30 April to 7 May 2022

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:

  • Explore our own creativity through all sorts of arts based activities
  • Learn practices and develop tools to bring fresh ideas into fruition
  • Use participatory and peer to peer learning while collaborating on projects during the week
  • Share resources and methodologies from the growing movement of artists & artivists working as drivers of change
  • Practice mindfulness to realise our creative potential, stretch our comfort zones and remain emotionally resilient for the long run
  • Share and celebrate our stories of courage and disobedience
  • Design the beginnings of creative projects to take back to our communities / organisations / movements
  • Identifying and moving through our creative limitations

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:

  • 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.

In this strand participants can expect to gain:

  • a good understanding of the principles and values that underpin the work
  • 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)

“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.

Contribución sugerida
En la economía solidaria: €400/€550/€950
(ver los detalles de nuestro enfoque hacia Economía solidaria)

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.