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Forum Theatre: Examining Oppressive Systems, Exploring Concrete Options

Tuesday, June 5th, 10am-6pm EDT*
Wednesday, June 6th, 10am-6pm EDT*
Thursday, June 7th, 10am-6pm EDT* followed by a Forum Theatre event that will open up the conference
*with food breaks of course!

Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Indiana, PA 15705
United States


This pre-conference is a 3-day practical workshop with Julian Boal. Far too many times we see Forum Theatre that individualizes problems that actually arise instead from the very structures of our societies. That individualization leads to at least two problems. First, it suggests that oppressions arise from the free will or personal perspectives of evildoers. But of course oppression does not work that way; a white man during apartheid, for example, benefited from racism regardless of whether or not that person held consciously racist personal opinions. Second, to individualize problems implies that it is the responsibility of single individuals to fight back against oppressions that are larger in scope than the individuals themselves. For example, to stress what a specific woman can do at the very moment she is under the threat of being beaten up by her husband reinforces the dangerous idea that she is personally responsible for that violence–or for stopping it herself. This workshop–through games, exercises, and techniques–will focus on finding ways to portray oppressive systems rather than just staging people with so-called “bad” behavior. In this workshop, participants will gain experience with a variety of Theatre of the Oppressed techniques, create original Forum Theatre scenes, and discuss the role of the joker figure in Theatre of the Oppressed. The scenes created by the participants will be shared at the opening of the 2018 PTO conference.

JULIAN BOAL Julian Boal was a founding member of different collectives in France. He is now part of the Escola de Teatro Popular in Brazil. He has realized workshops and projects in more than 20 countries, and he helped in the realization of Theatre of the Oppressed festivals in India with Jana Sanskriti, in Europe with Pa’tothom, and in South America with CTO-Rio. Julian served as assistant playwright for the last two plays of Companhia do Latāo (one of Brazil’s most important political theatre companies). Julian is the author of Images of a Popular Theatre (Imagens de um Teatro Popular, Hucitec, 2000), co-editor of Theatre of the Oppressed in Actions (Routledge, 2015), and recently completed a PhD in Brazil.

REGISTER for the Pre-Conference Now!