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Theatre of the Oppressed for Creating Personal and Systemic Change

Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) is a series of creative and deeply embodied techniques that help individuals and communities explore issues of oppression and create tactics to address them. The activities range from seriously silly to deeply contemplative and get groups playing, laughing and dialoguing together. 

 

Through Theatre of the Oppressed, we can:

  • Unpack and understand systemic power, privilege and oppression

  • Build awareness of community issues and organize for action

  • Respond to community conflict, rifts and ruptures

  • Open your creative potential through embodied exploration

  • Develop creative and engaging demonstrations for collective action

  • Get people talking and strategizing about the issues

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Interested? Contact me for

Custom TO workshops

Dialogic demonstrations

Creative action planning

Conflict resolution

Equity and justice training

Healing and wellness

Forum Theatre performances

Theatre of the Oppressed training

And more

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More about Theatre of the Oppressed: A Rehearsal for Revolution

Theatre of the Oppressed is a theoretical framework and set of techniques developed by Brazilian director, artist and activist Augusto Boal.

 

Recognizing that humans have a unique ability to take action in the world while simultaneously observing themselves in action, Boal believed that the human was a self-contained theatre, actor and spectator in one. Because we can observe ourselves in action, we can amend, adjust and alter our actions to have different impact and to change our world.

Theatre of the Oppressed engages people in discovery, critical reflection and dialogue and the process of liberation! Through Theatre of the Oppressed we can better understand ourselves, our communities and our world. There are several series of techniques, tools and expressions of Theatre of the Oppressed. Below are some expressions of TO that I use regularly.

Game playing is the core of Theatre of the Oppressed. An extensive arsenal of well crafted and expertly facilitated games allows participants to stretch the limits of their imaginations, demechanize habitual behaviors and deconstruct and analyze societal structures of power and oppression. Plus, game playing is fun and builds community!

In Image Theatre participants explore issues of oppression by using nonverbal expression and sculpting their own and other participants’ bodies into static physical images that can depict anything concrete or abstract, such as a feeling, issue, or moment.

Forum Theatre is a performance that functions to transform from spectator (one who watches) to a spect-actor (one who watches and takes action). A short scene by Forum actors presents an issue of oppression and represents the world as it is–the anti-model. Audience members are then encouraged to stop the play and take the stage to address the oppression, attempting to change the outcome through action. The show engages Forum actors and audience members in fun, entertaining and enlightening community dialogue.

 

Legislative Theatre is an extension of Boal’s Forum Theatre techniques and functions to determine the need for, create, and enact laws.  Beyond community building and issue awareness,z Legislative Theatre uses theatrical techniques to create concrete and specific socio-political impact.

 

Rainbow of Desire uses Image and Forum techniques to investigate internalized oppression. This highly therapeutic series of techniques asks participants to explore how external oppression causes us to oppress ourselves and helps to identify greater social issues and identify opportunities and even action for change.