From spectator to protagonist
Theatre of the Oppressed is 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.
“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.
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