theatre of the oppressed training

21st to 29th March 2020

This training will be run by facilitators from the Ulex Project network.

From spectator to protagonist

Theatre of the Oppressed is a range of techniques, games and exercises, using embodied narrative to support the empowerment and liberation of individuals and their communities. The approach was developed by Augusto Boal in South America, and has since been used all over the world in the building of community, to dynamize social engagement, and to support individuals to realise their creative potential for personal and social transformation.

“Theatre is a form of knowledge; it should and can also be a means of transforming society. Theatre can help us build our future, rather than just waiting for it.” – Augusto Boal, Games For Actors & Non-Actors

We’ve found Theatre of the Oppressed to be a potent tool in the facilitation of group work, community empowerment, and the holding of liberatory conversations. With a desire to explore the forms and tools more deeply, to get well skilled-up in applying them, and to share them with other facilitators, organisers and interested folk, we’ve invited Reboot the Roots to join us at ecodharma to run this course.

In essence, it utilises theatre in order to generate solutions to real problems, create dialogue where before there was only monologue, and ultimately “humanise humanity” by enabling people to develop the skills and faculties to liberate themselves and others. It creates space for a rehearsal for life. It is a way of analysing the power dynamics of our society and our personal relationships, purporting that personal problems are social problems.

The training will explore three key aspects of Boal’s work:

  • Forum Theatre – a rich and full narrative form which enables groups to explore issues in depth and from multiple perspectives, and to look for transformative opportunities and points of intervention within their own lives.
  • Rainbow of Desire – methods for exploring the dynamics of internalised oppression that can reduce our potency for social engagement and community participation.
  • Image Theatre – a set of simple forms that enable groups to hold meaningful and exploratory conversations. It is a highly participative approach that supports rich inclusivity, and is able to meet diverse needs and communication styles.

Participants can expect to gain:

  • a good understanding of the principles and values that underpin the work
  • an understanding of a range of key Theatre of the Oppressed tools
  • key skills needed to use a range of Theatre of the Oppressed tools in a variety of situations (e.g. community empowerment, campaign development, group work facilitation, conflict transformation)

“When does a session of The Theatre of the Oppressed end? Never – since the objective is not to close a cycle, to generate a catharsis, or to end a development. On the contrary, its objective is to encourage autonomous activity, to set a process in motion, to stimulate transformative creativity, to change spectators into protagonists. And it is precisely for these reasons that the Theatre of the Oppressed should be the initiator of changes the culmination of which is not the aesthetic phenomenon but real life… its objective is to become integrated into reality, into life.” – Boal

The team

Reboot the Roots is a charity that promotes social inclusion through the arts. It uses theatre, music and workshops to support people who are denied their rights to full, happy and active participation in society. This includes those recovering from addiction, people living with HIV/AIDS and individuals who have been in conflict with the law.

They facilitate workshops with the socially excluded, train trainers from other organisations and NGOs in techniques of art for inclusion, and help other practitioners to achieve their goals through logistical support, consultation and funding. They believe that creative tools for social transformation can enable people to participate fully and equally in society.

George Wielgus (Reboot the Roots) is a practitioner of the Theatre of the Oppressed, writer, performance poet and natural farmer who has travelled extensively across Europe and Asia working with socially excluded groups ranging from the homeless in London, subsistence farmers in India, survivors of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, to heroin addicts and street kids in Kuala Lumpur. He has a decade of experience as a facilitator and educator in fields ranging from TESOL and dramatherapy to drug rehabilitation and conflict resolution. He qualified in his Certificate in Joker Training and Certificate in Rainbow of Desire in 2010.

How to apply?
Contact or visit the course page on the Ulex Project website.

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