What is The Theatre of the Oppressed?
The Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) is a field of socially engaged applied participatory theatre developed by Brazilian theatre director Augusto Boal.
The facilitator of TO is often called the ‘Joker’ because their role, like the joker in a pack of cards, is not to follow any suit and to be as impartial as possible. Often as is many card games, the joker also plays the role of ‘difficultator’ or devil’s advocate or creative disruptor as the situation demands.
There are several different techniques within the armoury of The Theatre of the Oppressed for exploring and oppression and rehearsing solutions to its alleviation.
The beauty of these techniques is how they emerged organically and creatively in response to the needs of the communities with which Boal was co-creating.
Having worked for almost 30 years in this field my own practice has evolved in a unique way. While I can offer workshops and training in all the techniques, and these are described in different posts here, I do so with an emphasis influenced by what I have learned in developing Sneosry Labyrinth Theatre and through the lens of the theory of Context Oriented Arts, which I also describe elsewhere.
Lest to say, our greatest oppression, in the end, is the illusions of separation and I use TO in order to create spaces where there is the invitation to expose and dissolve this illusion