2019 PTO Conference

Read more about the 2019 Pedagogy & Theatre of the Oppressed Conference below!


Each year, PTO supports a local organizing team to host an annual gathering of hundreds of educators, activists, change makers, actors and non-actors from all over the world. We come together to connect with each other, create solutions and art, and challenge each other to empower our communities and problem-solve in innovative ways.

WHEN: June 11th – June 16th, 2019

  • Pre-Conference Workshop June 11th-June 13th
  • Forum Theatre Performance w. Julian Boal and Welcome Reception on June 13th at El Pueblo History Museum (301 N Union Ave, Pueblo, CO)
    • Registration/Check-in and optional self-guided tour of Museum: 4:30-6:30pm
    • Welcome and Forum Theatre Performance: 6:30pm
    • Welcome Reception following the performance: 8:20-9pm
  • Conference June 14-16
    • Friday, June 14
      • 8am: Registration and Check in Begin
      • 8:30am: All-Conference Welcome
      • 9am-6:30pm: Sessions and Keynotes (with 15 min breaks between sessions and a lunch provided by PTO)
    • Saturday, June 15
      • 8:30am: Registration and Check in Begin (for folks just joining)
      • 9am-6:30pm: Sessions and Keynotes (with 15 min breaks between sessions and a lunch provided by PTO)
      • 8-10pm: Conference Celebration in Downtown Pueblo!
    • Sunday, June 16
      • 9am-12:30pm: Sessions and All-Conference Closing

A full, detailed schedule of all sessions will be available online soon.

Colorado State University – Pueblo (CSU-Pueblo)
Occhiato University Center
2200 Bonforte Blvd
Pueblo, Colorado, 81001 USA

WHAT: A chance to LEARN, SHARE, QUESTION, and CONNECT through interactive techniques developed by Paulo Freire, Augusto Boal, and other people working to fight oppression and create justice. Learn more about Freire and Boal and their work at ptoweb.org.

Conference participants create machines of sound and movements to reflect on their conference experience.

Conference participants create machines of sound and movements to reflect on their conference experience.

WHO: YOU. Students, teachers, scholars, artists, activists, organizers. People of all ages, places, identities, experiences. If you want to build dialogue and make a more just world, you are invited, you are welcomed, and you are NEEDED.

WHY: The 24th Annual Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Conference invites artists, educators, organizers, and activists from around the world to join us in Pueblo, Colorado, to explore together the power of the people. “Pueblo” refers to both people and town, inviting us to think of the power of the collective. ¡El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido! can be heard at nearly every progressive protest moving through the streets today. The song was popularized as the anthem of the Chilean resistance against the Pinochet regime in the 1970s, and has since moved across borders as a call to unite people in popular struggles for liberation. Locally, this chant was adopted by the Chicano Movement, which still continues today.

Pueblo is also the location of the 2019 conference. Pueblo is in southern Colorado, a beautiful locale 1.5 hours south of Denver, rich with cultural traditions and challenges. Located on the Arkansas river, Pueblo is a gateway to the U.S. Southwest. Historically, the river marked the US – Mexico border, providing an essential resource and gathering place for the Ute, Apache, Comanche, and Shoshone peoples. Local Mexican American families who have lived in Pueblo for generations declare, “we didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.” And, we recognize the implications of these geographic borders, especially for our southern neighbors in Latin and southern America. Pueblo’s steel mill provided 100 years of economic opportunity to both long-time residents and more recent immigrants (primarily Italian and Eastern European), until the plant all but shut down in the 1980s. Agriculture still thrives in Pueblo County, which is home to over 900 farms producing Pueblo’s famous green chilies, and is newly embarking on cannabis cultivation. Despite its economic and social struggles, this High Plains desert community flows with a generous and vibrant spirit.

The story of Pueblo is both unique and familiar to others around the nation. Once a border town, but no more; once a thriving industrial steel city, but no more. Like many places, Pueblo is plagued by a failing education system, an opioid crisis, declining property values, and housing and food instability. Additionally, the condensation of local unions into large urban chapters has diminished leadership development opportunities in smaller towns and cities like Pueblo. Globally, communities are engaged in related struggles for local control of resources, economic opportunities for the most marginalized, and the mobilization of people power against repressive governments. But around the world and here in Pueblo, la gente are rising up.

Recently, Pueblo Education Association, the local teachers union, won a long-sought wage increase through an organized strike in 2017, building upon Colorado’s vibrant history of labor organizing. Educators and advocates continue to develop a transformative community school movement, one grounded in culturally sustaining principles. In addition to dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, Indigenous organizers and allies convene annually beneath a Pueblo statue that serves as the nation’s birthplace of Columbus Day. These protests directly call on the state to abolish the holiday.

Colorado, and Pueblo County in particular, is at the forefront of marijuana legalization. Established in 2016, the Institute of Cannabis Research at Colorado State University-Pueblo conducts much-needed research on the social, public health, and economic impact of cannabis. Unfortunately, restorative justice efforts around cannabis are fledgling at best in Colorado. Advocates of marijuana, harm reduction, and social and restorative justice must join forces to raise awareness of continued racial inequities in both drug policy and enforcement, and to promote social equity programs nationwide.

We hope you will join us in southern Colorado where we will explore creative pathways toward liberation from oppressive forces of colonization and other institutionalized social and economic injustices.

Pre-Conference Costs $200 total

To read additional information about the Pre-Conference or the facilitator, Julian Boal, please check out our Pre-Conference Page.


Conference Registration Costs*

Register for the Pre-Conference and Register for the Conference!

Conference Registration TypesEarly (before May 10th)Regular (May 10th-June 11th)
Full Member:$185$215
Open Access Member:$85$100
Non-Member: $255$285
High School Student:$25$35
Organizational Registration (up to 5 attendees): $675$760

Full Member vs. Open Access Member Registration

Full Member and Open Access Member registration are both open to Members of PTO. The Full Member registration is the full price registration for the conference. If you have the privilege of being funded by an organization or can personally afford to pay full price, please do. The lower priced Open Access Member registration is there to make the conference accessible to as many people as possible. Instead of making people prove a need for a “scholarship,” we at PTO believe in allowing folks to self-select for need. If you have a need for a lower registration price in order to attend this conference, please choose the Open Access Member registration.

However, for PTO to continue offering the Open Access Member registration price, those who can afford Full Member Registration cost must self-select to do so. We rely on an “honor system” to continue making the annual conference and other events financially accessible. Please don’t forget that as an entirely volunteer-lead, not-for-profit organization, we rely on your membership and donations. All of our income goes directly back into conferences, events, and activities that support your work!

Scholarships & Volunteering

We have distributed all available scholarships for the 2019 conference. However, if would like to support financial accessibility for the conference next year, please visit our Donation Page!

If you are interested in volunteering at the 2019 PTO Conference, please submit information about your interest and availability here.