Culture Magazine

Theatre of the Oppressed

By Aurorapowers @aurorapowers
In my first foray into community arts in 1991 I attempted a method called Theatre of the Oppressed, with a show entitled innabody. In this show I worked with 7 women under 25 to explore body image and eating disorders. We created a piece of Forum Theatre which asked the audience to actively solve the problems presented on the stage.
Here is an image from a Forum theatre I piece I did in 2007, entitled She.
Theatre of the Oppressed
This is a popular method of performance used in community arts, and I have used it several times since. Each time I have been part of the experience I have found it to be collectively transformative.
What is Theatre of the Oppressed?
Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) was created by Augusto Boal in Brazil, following the pedagogy of Paolo Friere. Friere, also from Brazil, wrote about 'bottom up' rather than 'top down' education. In this style both teachers and students decide upon curriculum and examination. Teachers and students share the same power, simply sifferent functions within the school.
In Boal's approach, rather than use theatre to proscribe messages to people, he uses performance to help people uncover their own desires. TO therefore distances itself from some theatre for development and theatre in education that proscribes health, education, or development messages to people. The stage is instead used as a place for the oppressed to critique and work together against the oppressor.
TO is made up of several performative forms, including Forum Theatre, Rainbow of Desire, and Newspaper Theatre and Legaslative Theatre.
Augusto BoalTheatre of the Oppressed
What is Forum Theatre?
Forum theatre is a style in which a problem that is faced by an individual, one likely to be shared by many in the community, is performed in front of spect-actors. The story is performed again, but this time, any spect-actor (Boal's term for one who is both spectator and actor) may yell out 'stop!' at any time during the story, and attempt to solve the problem presented on-stage.
The story is changed, repeated, and retried until a solution is reached that all are happy with. Solutions must be possible, without any 'magic' cures.
Performance therefore becomes a model for future action. It is preparation and planning for overcoming a shared problem. The stage is a safe space to practice and make mistakes. It is a place to share solutions, and try new options.

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Through the Eyes of My Expat Child! Lessons Learned.

    Through Eyes Expat Child! Lessons Learned.

    People keep saying to me, “Oh your little girl must be loving the normality of being back home in Australia.” I smile, nodding meekly, not wanting to seem... Read more

    9 hours, 40 minutes ago by   Mint Mocha Musings
    EXPAT, SELF EXPRESSION, TRAVEL
  • Taking Stock – April 2017

    Taking Stock April 2017

    Another Month has come and gone!  We are travelling through 2017 far too quickly!   As much as I would love time to stand still for a moment – it can’t, and it... Read more

    9 hours, 49 minutes ago by   Mischieviousmum
    FAMILY, LIFESTYLE
  • Soda Sales at Deepest Valley Since 1985

    Soda Sales Deepest Valley Since 1985

    US soda sales are at the lowest since 1985. And they're not likely to pick up soon, as reports about the potentially brain-damaging properties of sugary drinks... Read more

    11 hours, 11 minutes ago by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • Cartoon Guide to Biodiversity Loss XLI

    Cartoon Guide Biodiversity Loss

    Number 41 of my semi-regular instalment of biodiversity cartoons, and the first for 2017. See full stock of previous ‘Cartoon guide to biodiversity loss’... Read more

    11 hours, 25 minutes ago by   Bradshaw
    ENVIRONMENT
  • Snow in April

    Snow April

    Seriously what is going on with the weather? I woke up yesterday morning looked out the window and was greeted by beautiful blue skies, brilliant I though to... Read more

    12 hours, 16 minutes ago by   Ashley Crombet-Beolens
    ENVIRONMENT
  • 10 Reasons to Front-toss

    Reasons Front-toss

    Sitting or standing, underhand or overhand, front-toss is tough to beat.There are several ways to practice hitting. Live BP and hitting off a tee are popular... Read more

    12 hours, 37 minutes ago by   Meachrm
    BASEBALL, SPORTS
  • Crooked Federal Judge R. David Proctor, with His Deep-seated Ties to Perjurious...

    Crooked Federal Judge David Proctor, with Deep-seated Ties Perjurious Trump Jeff Sessions, Proves Apple Fall from Tree

    Judge R. David Proctor (center), with family members whohave benefited from ties to corrupt Trump AG Jeff Sessions(From facebook.com)How many ways can a... Read more

    13 hours, 34 minutes ago by   Rogershuler
    LEGAL, SOCIETY