Theatre of the Oppressed
Forum theatre is a rich and full narrative form of the Theatre of the Oppressed, which is a range of techniques, games and exercises in order to achieve social change. It was developed by Augusto Boal, a Brazilian theatre practitioner and political activist and has since been used all over the world to build communities, empower and liberate individuals and to support their creative potential for personal and social transformation. The work of Boal start from the reflection on the social use of art and its political function and is based on the idea that while some people make theatre, we all are theatre, all human beings are able to use the language of theatre to know and transform the world.
Theatre of Oppressed (TO) is a METHOD, composed of different techniques, that aims at developing, in the oppressed citizens, the language of the theatre, which is the essential human language. From the point of view of this form of theatre there is an oppression whenever a dialogical relation become a mono-logical one: when s/he who has lost the right to express his/her wills and needs, and is reduced to the condition of obedient listener of a monologue.The practice of the TO has the purpose of transforming situations of the real life that are oppressive from a personal and/or social point of view. TO aims at being an instrument to transform the society that engenders those oppressions.
In a Theatre of the Oppressed performance the spectators become “spect-actors”. They have the opportunity to intervene and change the outcome of the play. Spect-actors take on the role of the protagonist, explore possible alternatives and practice solutions for the problems, conflicts, oppression situations familiar from their everyday lives. This allows them to see clearly their own problematic situations and the role they play in those as well as the consequences of actions taken or not taken.
Through the project participants from the local community will be able to reflect on their personal and collective relationship to their local community, the process of gentrification and the problems that might have been caused by this process. As Forum Theatre is a participatory theatre form, it enables the audience to take actions and reflect as well. As audience members have the chance to play as well and change the outcome of the performance, it enables them to think and act about change. They will feel encouraged to think about how is it possible to find solutions for collective problems.
The devising process of a Forum Theatre play is empowering itself and build confidence, and raise self-esteem amongst participants. It also builds trust in a community and strengthening the sense of community belonging. The participants of the Theatre of the Oppressed workshops and performances usually gain lots of confidence and they might be inspired to take local actions later on in the community.