What is Theatre of the Oppressed?
Created by the Brazilian theatre director Augusto Boal, Theatre of the Oppressed (T.O) is a form of popular community based education. It is based on the educational philosophy of Paulo Freire as spelt out in his landmark treatise on education, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. T.O. encourages critical thinking, analyzing rather than accepting, questioning rather than giving answers. Using a wide arsenal of theatre games and exercises, T.O. enhances sensitivity in human communication, and starts a process of dialogue, reflection and action. It encourages spectators to become spect-actors.
It is also about "acting" rather than just talking. In this sense, it promotes community change through individual change - investing in us the power to make choices, and to change our lives as we desire.Boal's work was inspired by the struggles of the economically, socially, and politically marginalised -
"oppressed"- peasant population in Brazil.
In Europe, he expanded his original work, created new structures, in order to work with people who were struggling in their lives, even though they may not have been part of systemically oppressed populations such as those discriminated against on account of colour, or gender, or caste.
Many people struggle in their lives, with a sense of being "oppressed" - the struggle manifesing itself in various forms, such as a feeling of helplessness, powerlessness, or frustration in certain circumstances, or loneliness,or alienation,and an inability to communicate these feelings.
“The workshop was of GREAT HELP, to me because in one way or the other we all are oppressed at some point of time in our life.” Kubra Fathima, workshop participant
Theatre of the oppressed requires no prior experience in acting or drama. It simply uses everyone's innate ability to communicate with the body as a basic tool for acting. Also, in TO, "act" is used in the sense of "taking action" rather than "performing". In this sense, we are all actors.
Our workshops so far have been requested by organisations. We will very soon announce open workshops that anyone can enrol for, in their individual capacity, or as members of an organisation. To enrol please fill in the online form associated with these open workshop announcement. In case of any questions or difficulty, please write to email@example.com
Most workshops are held in Bengaluru. We have also held workshops outside Bengaluru - in Delhi, Mumbai etc. For details please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please send an e-mail to email@example.com and we will consider this on a case to case basis.
An introductory workshop can be done in 3 hours. We however recommend 2 days as the minimum duration for groups interested in experiencing and learning from T.O. techniques. Our main target groups so far- teachers, students, and teacher trainers- have acknowledged the benefits of this format.
Typically, workshops run between 9 AM and 5 PM. Timings are adjusted for groups belonging to particular institutions.
Yes. We expect that you attend the full workshop. This is essential because these workshops are experiential, and each activity builds on the previous one. When you miss parts of the workshop, not only will you not benefit fully from the workshop experience, it will also disturb the working of the rest of the group. Therefore, we strongly recommend that if you are unable to be fully present for a workshop, please choose another convenient date for the workshop.
Participants will be kept busy throughout the workshop. And we do not allow observers in our workshops.
While we do workshops for children, we do not include children below the age of 15 i our general workshops. There is no upper age limit.
There are no particular standards of physical fitness required for our workshops. Generally, most of our games and exercises are modifiable for persons with challenges too. If you have particular limitations that you wish to check on, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
There is no dress code. Wear clothes which allow easy movement during the workshop.
An open heart!
As a rule, lunch, tea/coffee are served during the course of the full-day workshops.
Not unless you are an outstation participant.
Yes; but typically, this should be done 15 days before the commencement of the workshop.
As a rule, No. But, in exceptional cases, this may be considered at the discretion of the facilitator.
We do not enrol more than 30 participants for a workshop.
Yes. This will be arranged after discussion of particular needs of the group.
Yes. This is possible after prior discussion.
We will give you the course material at the start of most workshops.
Charges depend on the duration and nature of the workshop.
If you have participated in a six-day workshop,it is possible for you to begin training others. However,we recommend that you apprentice with an experienced facilitator for a few months.
Yes. Repeating workshops at periodic intervals, reinforces learning. It is also useful for those who want to train as facilitators.
We are not aware of any organised groups in India doing Theater of the Oppressed workshops with the broad agenda of education that we have. But, many individual practitioners of T.O offer workshops in various flavours. Unfortunately, details of these are difficult to come by on the internet.
No. We do not offer any theoretical study course. Our workshops however have debrief sessions where there is scope to bring in theory.
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