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Date(s) - 08/13/2016
2:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Monkeywrench Books


The Theatre of the Oppressed, introduced in the early 1970s by Brazilian director and Workers’ Party (PT) activist Augusto Boal, is a participatory theatrical mode that emphasizes democratic and cooperative interaction, rather than a hierarchical approach to knowledge. It pulls from the expertise of all involved, with the facilitator merely serving to provide tools which will further aid the empowerment of all participants. In Theatre of the Oppressed, theatre itself is used not as a spectacle but rather as a language which is accessible to all and in which anyone can become literate. More specifically, it is a rehearsal designed to provide tools for people who want to learn and practice ways of fighting back against forms of oppression in their daily lives.

Boal’s “Forum Theatre,” for example, uses a dramatic situation of oppression from everyday life and uses the collective imaginations of the participants to brainstorm for solutions—a neighbor who is being evicted from his/her home, and individual confronting racial or gender discrimination, or an individual who is the victim of street harassment. The scene is repeated and spectators are urged to intervene by stopping the action, coming on stage to replace actors, and enacting their own ideas for alternate actions which might stop the oppression. Bridging the separation between actor (the one who acts) and spectator (the one who observes but is not permitted to intervene in the theatrical situation), the Theatre of the Oppressed creates “spect-actors” who have the opportunity to both act and observe, and who engage in self-empowering dialogue and critical thinking. In this way, theatre can be seen as a rehearsal for revolution.

Dana Sayre is enrolled in the alternative training program to become a Registered Drama Therapist certified by the North American Drama Therapy Association. Dana has a BA in Theatre and English from Fairmont State University and a MA in Performance Studies from Texas A&M University. She currently works as a teaching artist, anti-shame advocate, and identity coach. She has a decade of experience (plus personal experience) with issues related to gender and sexuality. She has done a lot of work to heal herself and wants to share the tools and skills she has gained with others.

In this workshop, Dana will provide a brief overview of Augusto Boal’s pedagogy and work. She will then guide participants through an experiential overview of Boal’s Image Theatre, Forum Theatre, and Invisible Theatre. By the end of the workshop, participants will be empowered to use Boal’s techniques in their activism. There will be a break in the middle of the workshop, so please bring a snack and water with you. Please dress in clothes which will facilitate movement.

The workshop is donation based. Please pay what you can, but in the spirit of Boal’s legacy, no one will be turned away for lack of funds. RSVP here to hold your place – space is limited.

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