Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Holds Workshop with Julian Boal

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Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Holds Workshop with Julian Boal



Representing Oppression

(A 3-day Forum Theatre Workshop)

This workshop is designed to be useful to both people with no experience with Theatre of the Oppressed AND experienced practitioners.

Tuesday, June 20th, 2023
Wednesday, June 21st, 2023
Thursday, June 22nd, 2023

Times: 10 am to 6 pm for the three days of the workshop (with breaks included for participants to access food), followed by an evening Forum Theatre event that will be part of the opening session of the PTO conference on June 22nd, 2023.

Cost: 200 USD per person

Phoenix Theatre Cultural Center, 705 N Illinois St, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46204, United States
Image description: Photo of a TO workshop in which Julian Boal is jokering. Julian and a workshop participant stand in the center of a loose circle of other participants. Julian and the participant make eye contact facing each other as the other participants look on with humor.

Telling true stories about individuals might not be enough to represent society accurately. For example, how can one go about developing a scene that focuses not so much on an individual violent husband but instead on the structural patriarchy embedded in societies? Or how does one avoid focusing only on the racist behavior of an isolated individual and instead pan out to represent the systemic racist matrix where this behavior is created, accepted, and encouraged? Pointing to an individual is actually a strategy often used by precisely those who deny oppression (ex.: “You really think there is still such a thing as transphobia? But so-and-so is so popular on TV right now.”) To take one person’s situation as a representation of a whole system–even when an individual situation is truthfully depicted–can sometimes be a way of telling a lie. Through a range of games, exercises, and techniques, this workshop will try to avoid these pitfalls in the creation of Forum Theatre plays. The workshop will also explore how to devise scenes that are a bit less typical for Forum Theatre but that can help to stage a more complex analysis: scenes that don’t directly invite intervention from the audience but that still expand understanding of the oppressive systems being depicted.*

*Additional notes about this workshop can be found at the bottom of this page.

Image description: A professional headshot photo of Julian Boal. Julian is smiling and facing the camera and the photo is in grayscale.
is a teacher, researcher, and practitioner of Theatre of the Oppressed. He has facilitated workshops in more than 25 countries and has collaborated on several international festivals of Theatre of the Oppressed in India with Jana Sanskriti, in Spain with Pa’tothom, in Portugal with Óprima, in Croatia with the Istrian National Theater, in France with GTO-Paris, and in Brazil with CTO-Rio. Some other groups and movements with whom he has worked closely include MST (the Landless Workers Movement) and MSTB (the Roofless Movement of Bahia) in Brazil and La Dignidad In Argentina. In Paris, he was a founding member of the Ambaata collective, which worked alongside migrant workers, and he also worked with GTO-Paris and Féminisme Enjeux. He participated in the design and realization of the exhibition on Augusto Boal at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brazil in 2015 and curated part of the Utopia International festival, held in Maricá, Brazil, in 2016. He collaborated with Sergio de Carvalho as assistant playwright for two recent plays of Companhia do Latão (São Paulo): Those Who Stay (2015) and The Bread and The Stone (2016). He holds a Master’s degree in History from the Sorbonne (Paris IV) and a Ph.D. from the School of Social Work at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. Boal is the author of Images of a Popular Theatre (Hucitec, 2000) and co-editor of the DVD & essay booklet Theatre of the Oppressed in Actions (with Kelly Howe and Scot McElvany, Routledge, 2015) and The Routledge Companion to Theatre of the Oppressed (with Kelly Howe and José Soeiro, Routledge, 2019). He is co-founder (with Geo Britto) and pedagogical coordinator of Escola de Teatro Popular (ETP; The School of Popular Theatre, in Rio de Janeiro), a school run by social movements for social movements, where political unity is practiced at the grassroots level through the practice of theatre. He is also a member of the Instituto Augusto Boal in Rio.


Language: The primary language of this workshop will be English; however, the facilitator could answer a participant question in any of the following languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French. If you would like to take this workshop and have questions about the logistics of language in it, please contact

Movement as an Element of the Workshop: Many of the techniques of Theatre of the Oppressed–as initially articulated and as they will sometimes be enacted in this workshop–can involve a significant amount of physical movement. Theatre of the Oppressed aims to–among other things–examine how oppression acts on the body and to avoid the oppressions of forms that devalue bodily exploration. Some of the physical movement involved in some of the exercises proposed by the facilitator could include: walking, occasional rapid walking or other rapid movement, engagement with the hands or arms, and a range of other physical activities. As Augusto Boal always maintained, however, the techniques are designed for those who enact them, not the other way around; he welcomed adaptation in this respect. Any of the exercises explored in this workshop can be adapted by individual participants at any time, in keeping with their own needs. There are also significant portions of the workshop exploration that will ultimately end up being discussion-based and not requiring significant physical movement. In addition, participants are also welcome to refrain from participation in various moments should they need to do so. That said, if you have any questions about the nature of the physical engagement that will be part of the workshop’s exploration (or any other aspect of the workshop), please contact

Remember: The scenes created by the participants will be shared at the opening session of the 2023 PTO conference on Thursday night, June 22, 2023.