The Team

Radha Ramaswamy

The Centre for Community Dialogue and Change was founded in 2011 by Radha Ramaswamy , a Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner and trainer with over 25 years of teaching experience in mainstream educational institutions in Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore. 

As a teacher, Radha encouraged her students to think beyond the classroom. While in Mount Carmel College, Bengaluru, she initiated and led several co-curricular programmes  such as the Writing Group, and the Drama Club. She collaborated with the Association for Promoting Social Action (APSA) , a Bengaluru -based, child rights centred NGO, to design outreach projects for her students.  

Prompted by a strong desire to engage with larger, fundamental issues related to education, Radha gave up her job as Head of the Department of English at Mount Carmel College, and joined the Mahindra United World College of India at Pune, where, besides teaching English, she founded the Department of Theater Arts and functioned as the Head of Aesthetics. The School's Community Interaction programmes  helped Radha further develop and sharpen her own ideas on the processes of participatory community engagement. The next two years found her working with the Association for Promoting Social Action(APSA) and other NGOs, engaging in educational research and training.

Her experience in education, interest in theatre, and passion for social justice work came together when she decided to train  in Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, a tool for community education. Radha trained with Marc Weinblatt at the Mandala Center for Change in June 2010. Subsequently, she­­ invited him to conduct workshops in India in January-February 2011, and shortly thereafter, launched the Centre for Community Dialogue and Change, an organization committed to the promotion of Theatre of the Oppressed in  education.

Since founding the CCDC, Radha has worked with diverse communities of people: children, students, teachers, teacher-trainers, women activists, senior citizens, medical students, medical teachers and others. 
In this period, Radha has conducted numerous workshops – both short courses and multi-day sessions, in various cities in India, Nepal, UK, and the United States, mainly for those from the field of education.  These have included sessions for teachers, teacher trainers, Medical students and faculty. Regular voluntary work with Senior citizens has also been an important part of her work, with forum performances on topics such as 'Elder Abuse', 'Dementia' and 'Retirement Blues'.The work with medical students and faculty - exploring the application of Theatre of the Oppressed in the field of Medical Humanities- is pioneering and has the potential to become a significant area of study for TO practitioners. Based on her work in this area, Radha presented a paper at the Global Medical Humanities Conference, in Aberdeen in Scotland in July 2013. CCDC's work in this area is summed up in a book chapter in the Routledge Handbook of Medical Humanities, published in September 2019, co authored by Ravi Ramaswamy and Radha.
Encouraged by the widespread positive feedback from her workshops, Radha started Six-day Theatre of the Oppressed facilitator trainings offered annually in Bangalore and Mumbai.  In response to increasing demand from the community of Bangalore Jokers (people who have trained with CCDC), Radha has been offering advanced facilitator trainings since 2017. 
Radha has been invited to offer Theatre of the Oppressed and Forum Theatre trainings in several communities across India and outside, such as the Theatre in Education centre, the National School of Drama, Agartala, for women community leaders in Karur, Tamil Nadu, for members of the Oxford University Dramatics Society, students at Oxford University, UK, and for social workers and faculty at The Banyan, Chennai.
In November 2014, Radha organised,a 5 day National TO conference called Diversity Dialogues. This conference featured presentations and participation not only by TO practitioners but a wide spectrum of artists, writers, activists, and performers concerned with core issues of education and social justice.
In December-January 2016-17, Radha invited David Diamond from Canada to conduct 3 week long sessions in Theatre for Living under the aegis of CCDC in Bangalore. This was a first of its kind in India.
Radha's  main thrust remains the development of a TO based curriculum for mainstream schools and colleges in India.

 Ramaswamy P.S.

The decision to take the six-day facilitator training workshop in Theatre of the Oppressed, along with his wife Radha Ramaswamy, at the Mandala Centre for Change in Port Townsend, Seattle, dramatically altered the course of Ram’s life.

With  a doctorate in Organic Chemistry and 30 years in the pharmaceutical industry in India, Ram saw his  life’s focus shift  to using Theatre of the Oppressed as a tool for addressing issues in the community. This was both remarkable and completely understandable, for, throughout his career as a Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs professional, what set Ram apart from so many of his colleagues were his concern for genuine dialogue and democratic processes in communication, fostering critical thinking in the people who trained with him, and encouraging the exploration of multiple  strategies for problem-solving.

Ram followed his six-day training in Theatre of the Oppressed  with a four week intensive study period. He shadowed Marc Weinblatt during his residency in Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, where Ram, along with Radha, had organised trainings and shorter workshops to be conducted by Marc. The workshops for Non Government Organisation (NGO) staff, medical professionals, teachers and theatre students, as also the community performances for underprivileged sections of society that Marc conducted, helped crystallise Ram’s plans for seeking a different context for applying his skills, interest and experience.

He now combines his life long interest in popular education with his experience of training in the pharmaceutical industry, as he handles his multiples roles in CCDC as researcher, documentalist and facilitator.
"Theatre of the Oppressed helped me identify the soft underbelly lying dormant within me, obscured by the hard outer shell,” says Ram. “Having followed the path of scientific exploration all these years, Theatre of the Oppressed provided a complimentary process for additional self exploration. It is very exciting - although it could, at times, turn out to be unsettling.” 

Ravi Ramaswamy

With a Masters degree in Social Work and 10 years' experience working in the development sector, Ravi Ramaswamy entered the world of Theatre of the Oppressed in 2010. He received training in Theatre of the Oppressed in 2010, from Marc Weinblatt of the Mandala Center for Change. He is currently a trustee of the Centre for Community Dialogue and Change ( CCDC) Bangalore and leads workshops and trainings with diverse communities across India.

A major focus of Ravi's work since 2014 has been workshops in Medical Humanities. Using Theatre of the Oppressed to encourage medical faculty and students to reflect on the need to humanize healthcare is one of CCDC's pioneering activities. Some of the colleges where Ravi has offered workshops are: All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhopal, and Jodhpur, JSS Medical College, Mysore, Kasturba Medical college and Melaka Manipal Medical College, Manipal, MS Ramaiah Medical College, Bangalore, Devaraj Urs Medical College, Kolar, TD Medical College, Allapuzha , GS Medical College and Colombia Global Centres, Mumbai, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sevagram, Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences, Wardha and Sri Guru Ramdas University of Medical Sciences, Amritsar. He has co- authored a chapter on the use of Theatre of the Oppressed in Medical Education in the Routledge Handbook of the Medical Humanities published in September 2019.

Ravi offers courses in Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed to students of Development Communication and Psychology. Mount Carmel College,  Jyoti Nivas College, Azim Premji University, Jain ( Deemed to be University) and Christ(Deemed to be University)  are among the Undergraduate and post graduate institutions in Bangalore where Ravi has offered courses exploring the role of the development professional and themes such as masculinity, violence, gender and sexuality, social psychology , democracy etc.  

In probably the first initiative of its kind in the country, the Department of Prisons, Government of Karnataka with the NGO Peacemakers, invited Ravi to lead a week long workshop for inmates of Bangalore Central Jail, focusing on their emotional and psychological well-being.  

Besides facilitating workshops, Ravi has also been offering beginners' and advanced level trainings in Theatre of the Oppressed in Bangalore and Mumbai.  

Ravi is currently engaged in a forum theatre project to identify the struggles and aspirations of young farmers. 

Ravi can be contacted on

Sowmyashree Gonibeedu 

Sowmyashree Gonibeedu has been associated with CCDC since October 2016. She brings skills in the areas of media and publication, documentation and translation, and assists in the monthly forum activities. Her education in management, counseling and life skills, and sexuality related laws make her a particularly valuable asset to the CCDC team. Sowmya has over 9 years of experience working in corporate and NGO spaces. Currently she is a freelance content writer and conducts life skills based workshops on safety and sexuality. 


Ravi Ramakantan

A chance conversation with his school friend , Radha Ramaswamy, introduced Ravi Ramakantan to Theatre of the Oppressed.
Trained as a Radiologist, Ravi worked as a medical teacher and Consultant Radiologist at the GS Medical College and KEM Hospital in Bombay, India for over 30 years. He is at present attached to the Kolikaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Bombay.
In a career spanning over 30 years at a large public hospital  catering mainly to the underprivileged segment of society, in Bombay,  it was natural for Ravi to be moved by the havoc poverty and disease wreaked in the lives of patients and their families - something which he intuitively related to as a form of “oppression”.  At the same time, he was acutely aware of his role as a medical teacher and the possibility of training medical students in tune with the teaching of the famous physician William Osler "do not just see the disease that the patient has but also the patient who has the disease".
Theatre of the Oppressed appealed to Ravi as one of the techniques that could help in fostering a healthy doctor-patient relationship. Techniques such as Image Theatre and Rainbow of Desire will likely promote greater understanding of doctors about themselves, not only as healers but also as human beings. Forum and Invisible theatre are likely to help in addressing issues related to medical education, the student teacher relationship as well as the role of doctors in community health.
Ravi hopes to facilitate the conduct of Theatre of the Oppressed Workshops by his colleagues at CCDC as a part of Medical Humanities courses in India and to research the long term benefits of Theatre of the Oppressed techniques in enriching the field of Medical Humanities. Hundreds of medical students and doctors including medical teachers have so far participated in T.O. workshops facilitated by Radha Ramaswamy and Ravi Ramaswamy.