Theater of the Oppressed WORKSHOP, NYC July 27-29: Augusto Boal

Tom Boland (
Fri, 5 Jun 1998 11:58:09 -0700 (PDT)

FWD  For more INFORMATION call The Brecht Forum (212) 242-4201,
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The Brecht Forum
122 West 27 Street 10 floor
New York, New York 10001
(212) 242-4201
(212) 741-4563 (fax) (e-mail until June 10) (e-mail after June 10)

                   The Brecht Forum and
     The Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB)

                ***The Rainbow of Desire***

                A Three-day Workshop in the
                 Therapeutic Techniques of
                The Theater of the Oppressed

                 Conducted by Augusto Boal

                  Monday, July 27 through
             Wednesday, July 29, 1998; 5-10 pm

The Theater of the Oppressed is a form of participatory
theater developed in the 1970s by Brazilian director and
political activist Augusto Boal, and rooted in the Latin
American popular education movements of the last several

Its problem-posing techniques have been used by labor and
community organizers and educators in six continents as
tools for democratizing their own organizations, analyzing
problems, and transforming reality through direct action.

In the Theater of the Oppressed, participants dramatize
their own stories of oppression and propose various
solutions to given situations.

This workshop will offer a selection of Image Theater
exercises, games, and techniques designed to recognize and
confront internalized forms of oppression. In Image
Theater, the body is used to create images that help
participants explore power relations and collective
solutions to concrete problems. We begin with an
individual recounting a personal story of oppression and
then gradually shift from the particular to the general.
In the end, the group--and not the original
story-teller--has become the protagonist.

This workshop is limited to 30 people and preregistration
is required.

Tuition is $350.

The workshop will take place at The Brecht Forum, 122 West
27 Street (between 6 and 7 Avenues) in New York City.

Co-sponsored by The Brecht Forum and the Theater of the
Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB).


Augusto Boal is a political activist and major innovator
of post-Brechtian theater. He served as Artistic Director
of the Arena Theater in Sao Paulo from 1956 to 1971. In
the 1970s, he came under attack by the Brazilian
government, resulting in his imprisonment, torture, and
subsequent exile. Boal has lectured, conducted workshops,
and mounted productions throughout North and South
America, Europe, and Africa, and has written a number of
books, including _Theater of the Oppressed_; _The Rainbow
of Desire_; and _Games for Actors and Non-Actors_. He
presently resides in Rio de Janeiro. He was a Workers'
Party deputy in the Rio de Janeiro City Council from 1992
to 1996.


                     REGISTRATION FORM

Tuition is $350.

To pay by credit card (Visa or Mastercard) return this
form to   <>   or fax it to The
Brecht Forum at (212) 741-4563.

To pay by check or money order mail it to:

     The Brecht Forum
     122 West 27 Street 10 floor
     New York, New York 10001

State or Province:
Telephone day:
Telephone evening:
Organizational/institutional affiliation (if any):

Method of payment:


Tuition is $350.
Please make checks payable to The Brecht Forum.


What Is the Theater of the Oppressed?

The Theater of the Oppressed, established in the early
1970s by Brazilian director and Workers' Party (PT)
activist Augusto Boal, is a form of popular theater, of,
by, and for people engaged in the struggle for liberation.
More specifically, it is a rehearsal theater designed for
people who want to learn ways of fighting back against
oppression in their daily lives. In the Theater of the
Oppressed, oppression is defined as a power dynamic based
on monologue rather than dialogue; a relation of
domination and command that prohibits the oppressed from
being who they are and from exercising their basic human
rights. Accordingly, the Theater of the Oppressed is a
participatory theater that fosters democratic and
cooperative forms of interaction among participants.
Theater is emphasized not as a spectacle but rather as a
language designed to: 1) analyze and discuss problems of
oppression and power; and 2) explore group solutions to
these problems. This language is accessible to all.

Bridging the separation between actor (the one who acts)
and spectator (the one who observes but is not permitted
to intervene in the theatrical situation), the Theater of
the Oppressed is practiced by "spect-actors" who have the
opportunity to both act and observe, and who engage in
self-empowering processes of dialogue that help foster
critical thinking. The theatrical act is thus experienced
as conscious intervention, as a rehearsal for social
action rooted in a collective analysis of shared problems
of oppression. This particular type of interactive theater
is rooted in the pedagogical and political principles
specific to the popular education method developed by
Brazilian educator Paulo Freire: 1) to see the situation
lived by the participants; 2) to analyze the root causes
of the situation; and 3) to act to change the situation
following the precepts of social justice.

The Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB)

The purpose of the Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory,
founded in New York City in July 1990, is to provide a
forum for the practice, performance and dissemination of
the techniques of the Theater of the Oppressed. We work
with educators, human service and mental health workers,
union organizers, and community activists who are
interested in using interactive theater as a tool for
analyzing and exploring solutions to problems of
oppression and power that arise in the workplace, school,
and community--problems connected to AIDS, substance
abuse, family violence, homelessness, unemployment,
racism and sexism.

Just as the principal goal of popular education is to
change the power relations in our society and to create
mechanisms of collective power over all the structures of
society, so too the principal goal of the Laboratory is
to help groups explore and transform power relations of
domination and subjugation that give rise to oppression.
Within this learning process: 1) all participants are
learners; 2) all participate in and contribute equally to
the production of knowledge, which is a continuous
dialogue; 3) the learners are the subject and not the
object of the process; 4) the objective of the process is
to liberate participants from both internal and external
oppression, so as to make them capable of changing their
reality, their lives and the society they live in.

Since 1990 the Laboratory has initiated and organized
intensive workshops led by Augusto Boal in New York City.
It has also planned and led more than 100 public training
workshops in the techniques of the Theater of the
Oppressed in the New York area, as well as other locations
throughout the United States, and in Mexico City and the
Mexican states of Chiapas and Tabasco. The Laboratory has
also participated in international theater festivals in
Paris, Rio de Janeiro, and Mexico City.

The Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory has brought
together people from diverse backgrounds, occupations, and
organizations, and functioned as a resource, information,
and networking center serving individuals and groups
interested in theater for social change.

Since its inception, the Laboratory has worked with
battered women, homeless people with HIV/AIDS, trade
unions, solidarity, religious, and human rights
organizations, anti-racist groups, mental health
practitioners and human services workers, community
organizers, political activists, New York City public
school children, and actors and nonactors, among many
others. The Laboratory also gives advice and support to
individuals and groups who use the techniques of the
Theater of the Oppressed in their particular field
(education, social work, community organizing, the arts).

The Brecht Forum

Now in its twenty-third year, The Brecht Forum is a place
for people who are working for fundamental social change
and a new culture that puts human needs first. Its
offerings range from classes, forums and panel discussions
to language instruction, art exhibits, bi-lingual poetry
readings, and seminars and conferences on issues of
importance in the world today. The Brecht Forum's work is
organized through projects that include:

  *The New York Marxist School

  Attempts to resolve the problems that plague everyday
  life, and even threaten survival on this planet--from
  poverty, disease, discrimination and alienation, to war,
  economic crisis and environmental devastation--bring
  people face to face with difficult questions: Can
  society be changed for the better? What kind of changes
  would be needed? Who could bring about such changes?

  Questions like these motivated Karl Marx and Friedrich
  Engels to develop a method for studying the dynamics of
  change in societies. The New York Marxist School uses
  Marx's and Engel's uniquely valuable contributions,
  along with others within and outside the Marxist
  tradition, to study conditions today and possibilities
  for transcending capitalism and building an emancipatory

  *The Institute for Popular Education and The Organizers

  The Institute for Popular Education was founded in 1992
  to build on popular education traditions developed in
  Latin America, particularly the work of Paulo Freire and
  Augusto Boal. The Organizers Program uses popular
  education methods in a year-long series of classes and
  workshops designed to provide new activists with basic
  economics, history, and political theory, as well as
  help them examine organizing strategies in a larger
  context, build leadership skills, deepen understanding
  of the issues affecting New Yorkers on a daily basis,
  and increase their involvement in the political life of
  New York City.

  *Arts at the Brecht

  The Brecht Forum invites proposals for visual arts
  exhibits pertaining to topics of political and cultural
  interest. It emphasizes works created by artists who
  have been bypassed or neglected by the conventional
  cultural milieu, giving arts space to women, immigrants,
  gays and lesbians, people of color, and other artists
  who seek to challenge the dominant cultural trends.


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