Understanding TO

The Covid-19 induced indefinite lockdown has presented us with an opportunity to pause, to revisit TO fundamentals, and refresh our knowledge and understanding.

The first of our online ‘teaching’ courses, Understanding Theatre of the Oppressed, was specially designed with the purpose of creating curiosity and kindling interest in TO, enough to bring groups to our in person trainings!

The course was offered as a series of 1 hour sessions over 6 days. Starting with the story of the birth of TO, we took participants through games, Image Theatre, and structures such as Cop in the Head, Rainbow of Desire and Forum Theatre, drawing on CCDC’s experience with diverse communities to illustrate concepts and ideas. Participants were introduced to the central concepts, the theory, the philosophy and the politics of TO. They also got a flavour of how CCDC combines pedagogy and practice in our trainings. Reading material and video clips from CCDC’s workshops helped deepen discussions and give context.

We discussed classic models of Forum Theatre, and why some contexts demand a deviation from the classic model. An important discussion revolved around the ethics of the practice, especially when the work is offered to underprivileged communities by facilitators with privilege.

We followed this basic introduction to Theatre of the Oppressed with a 4 day course on Jokering Forum Theatre, aimed at participants seeking in depth understanding of Forum Jokering.