Theatre of the Oppressed

Those in Toronto– Another Theatre of the Oppressed workshop!

Readers in the Toronto area, here’s a chance to learn how to make social changes using the Theatre of the Oppressed method. Please check it out:

Branch Out Theatre Workshops Presents:

An Introductory Workshop Series in

Augusto Boal’s

Theatre of the Oppressed

With facilitator: Naomi Tessler, M.A. Educational Theatre, N.Y.U.

Learn to use theatre as a tool for social change!

Fall Series Dates:

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Wednesday, November  17th, 2010

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

*Drop in option available*

Time: 7pm-9:30pm

Location: Christie Studio, Artscape Wychwood Barns,

601 Christie st.

To Register and for more info, contact Naomi at: 416-910-4972

Cost: Individual Workshop: $40, $110 for fall series

Student Rate: Individual Workshop: $30, $80 for fall series

*sliding scale option available*

Looking To Create Change in Your Life?

Gain Clarity.  Feel Empowered.

Actively Create Space for Change.

in Branch Out Theatre Workshops’

Rainbow of Desire Theatre Lab

An interactive workshop series in creative self-discovery and personal growth

Facilitated by: Naomi Tessler, M.A Educational Theatre N.Y.U.

Join us for the Fall Series!

Fall Series Dates:

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Time: 7pm-9:30pm

Location: Christie Studio, Artscape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie st.

NO theatre experience necessary!

To register and for more info, contact Naomi at: 416-910-4972

Cost: Individual Workshop: $40, $75 for fall series,

Student Rate: Individual Workshop: $30, $55 for fall series

*Sliding scale options available*

Using Theatre to Overcome Oppression

Many of the peace strategies used in current conflict zones focus on reducing the direct violence or the structural violence within the government systems while neglecting to truly address the cultural violence that lingers within the society.  Cultural violence, a term made famous by peace scholar Johan Galtung, is described as “any aspect of a culture that can be used to legitimize violence in its direct or structural form”, which can include comments, conversations, writing, art, or ideologies. Cultural violence is the most difficult type of violence to address, as it is thoroughly engrained into everyday practices and gradually built up over a lifetime. Peacekeeping, without strong simultaneous attempts at reducing cultural violence, is like putting a bucket under a leaky faucet and expecting it to stop the leak. The bucket will not stop the cause of the leak or prevent it from continuing and may even contribute to larger problems. Dialogue is incredibly important in conflict zones, but it is often difficult to get a conversation going when hostilities are still broiling. Can we discuss and bring about change when oppression is deeply embedded in a culture? Can we encourage people to speak out against situations of oppression and change their personal behaviours?

Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed is an approach to social change that allows for protected dialogue into an issue behind a veil of theatrics. Spectators, who become active participants in the production, are able to analyze and transform their own reality through the safe dialogue of the theatre. Actors simulate common oppressive behavior and then provide the audience with a chance to suggest actions for the actors to carry out in the scene in an attempt to change the outcome, overcoming the oppression. The hope is that the modeled behavior will help spectators become empowered to act and change their thinking towards oppression in their own lives, giving them the experience of starting a dialogue against oppression. The theatre is a mix of improvisation and scripting, showing repeated oppressive scenes. The audience enacts suggested changes in each condensed round in an attempt to overcome the oppression in new ways or to recreate new forms of oppression for the actors to overcome.

Invisible Theatre extends this format using the pedagogy of overcoming oppression by injecting the activist theatrics into everyday public street life. A scripted core is utilized to demonstrate an instance of social injustice, such as racism or sexism, without the watching public’s knowledge that theatre is being performed in front of them. Actors perform the parts of the oppressors and oppressed, as well as opinionated by-standers that encourage the public to react. They demonstrate how oppression can be resolved or overcome by an average person and encourage the watching public to act in a similar manner in their own lives.

Change begins with ideas. It is not enough to simply separate warring parties. For peacekeeping to be truly effective, we must first stop the cultural flame that stimulates the conflict.

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Those in Toronto-Check it out. Theatre of the Oppressed

Was asked to pass this along. A great idea at sparking change. Please check it out:
To an introductory training in Theatre of the Oppressed:

A process of theatre-based exercises, games and techniques developed by Agusto Boal which invites participants to use theatre as a tool to explore social issues and spark the dialogue and rehearsal needed to create positive social change.


The training will be led by Naomi Tessler, a theatre educator/workshop facilitator, director, actor, playwright, poet, and Reiki Practitioner. She is a graduate of the M.A. program in Educational Theatre for Colleges and Communities at New York University.  She is a Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner and has learned directly from founder Augusto Boal.  She is passionate about using theatre as a tool for social change; encouraging self expression, community/team building, personal and professional development, environmental awareness and social justice.  She has facilitated theatre-based workshops globally and believes in making theatre an accessible tool towards positive change.

When and Where?
Saturday, February 20th
10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Steelworkers Hall
25 Cecil Street
corner of Spadina and College, one block south and two blocks east
Sponsored by Christian Peacemaker Teams
Contact Jim Loney at 416-516-2326 for more information.
Please confirm your particapation by emailing Jim at before February 10th. If there are more people interested that we can accommodate, we’ll organize a second training.
Cost: an hour’s wage, where applicable. Everything we collect will be given to Naomi in appreciation for her work.
Participants are asked to bring their own lunch. There are lots of Chinatown restuarants nearby for those wanting an affordable lunch. Kensington Market too. Beverages and a light snack will be provided.
Free parking is available behind the Steelworkers hall.
Want More Information? Check out….
Theatre of the Oppressed, Augusto Boal
Games for Actors and Non-Actors, Augusto Boal
Legislative Theatre: Using Performance to Make Politics, Augusto Boal
The Rainbow of Desire, Augusto Boal
Hamlet and the Baker’s Son: My Life in Theatre and Politics, Augusto Boal
Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire
Playing Boal, Thetare Therapy, Activism, eds: Mady Schutzman and Jan Cohen-Cruz
Augusto Boal, Routledge Performance Practitioners, Frances Babbage

*this link will lead to other websites as well*