Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Seeks Proposals for Annual Conference

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Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Seeks Proposals for Annual Conference



No Body Alone/Ningún Cuerpo Solo



The 26th Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed (PTO) Conference

Pre-conference workshop (in-person in Indianapolis) with Julian Boal:
June 20-22, 2023

In-Person Conference: June 22-25

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Host Site: Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Associated Online PTO Events: June 8 & 9, 2023

(PTO will hold 2 half-days of online sessions two weeks before the in-person conference; those who wish to present online can apply via the same proposal form and indicate that they wish to present online. If you register for the in-person conference, you are encouraged to participate online as well. In-person registrants will receive the online event links at no extra cost.)

“It is the human body, young or old, fat or thin, of whatever color, the conscious body that looks at the stars. It is the body that writes. It is the body that speaks. It is the body that fights. It is the body that loves and hates. It is the body that suffers. It is the body that dies. It is the body that lives!” – Paulo Freire

PROPOSAL SUBMISSION DEADLINE (for proposals for both online & in-person sessions): January 10, 2023 (with notification by February 15). Submit your proposal here

This year’s focus:

Theatre and dialogue start with the body! PTO Indianapolis 2023’s theme of No Body Alone will investigate bodies as systems impacted by larger systems of control: the body as receptor, transmitter, creator, and collaborator. Every person is theatre; the body alone can be space to perceive oneself as such. But when Capitalism, White Supremacy, and other systems of oppression seek to divide the individual from their body, and their bodies from the collective power they contain when united in action, the body alone can feel very small. Deeply affected but disempowered. People can harness the technologies for change within their bodies when they recognize systemic impacts upon them, the power of response and healing within them, and the critical consciousness that can be raised together through them.


  • Bodily oppression exists, limiting the agency of people to define, express, and seek care for their own identities.
  • Systemic power inevitably impacts where bodies can go, how they feel, and what agency is had over them.
  • Many people and bodies are often excluded from places of power, representation, and conversations or conferences like this one.
  • People are taught to be disembodied learners and estranged from their bodies as workers, to believe that body and mind are adversaries.
  • The lived histories of humanity remain apparent to bodies, as maps of identity and insights into tensions, struggles, needs, and the hard-fought victories or losses of communities.


  • It is through bodies that one can learn to recognize what they experience, how they have been constructed by their experiences, and what they might become.
  • That they can open new spaces for change through demechanization of their bodies.
  • That, as Augusto Boal describes, one must “control [their] own body, know [their] own body, in order to be capable of making it more expressive. Then [they] will be able to practice theatrical forms in which by stages [they free themselves] from [their] condition of spectator and take on that of actor, in which case [they cease] to be an object and become a subject, changed from witness into protagonist.”


About PTO:

Pedagogy & Theatre of the Oppressed (PTO) is an international organization that supports people whose work challenges oppressive systems by promoting critical thinking and social justice through liberatory theatre and popular education. Their approaches stem from the theories and practices of Paulo Freire and Augusto Boal. They foster collaborative connections to share, develop, promote, and document liberatory theatre, popular education, and other revolutionary actions. The annual conference seeks to provide an accessible, inclusive, and educational space. PTO actively seeks both introductory sessions for those new to Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed practices, as well as advanced sessions for long-time practitioners.



Organizers, workers, students, teachers, activists, artists, scholars! YOU are invited to submit a proposal to share your practices and knowledge at the 26th international conference of PTO: Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed! This is a gathering for learning, sharing, and exchange between people who want to struggle together for a better world for all. If you want to be a part of that struggle, this conference is for you, even if you do not yet know anything about Pedagogy of the Oppressed or Theatre of the Oppressed.

The 26th Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed conference is focused on the body, knowing local fights for liberation and bodily autonomy in Indianapolis, Indiana, are shared struggles throughout the world. Body oppression has taken many forms, including: anti-trans legislation, abortion restrictions, inadequate medical care, homelessness and the housing crisis, revocation of drivers licenses for undocumented residents, the disappearing of Missing, Murdered, and Indigenous Women, HIV Criminalization, police occupation and state violence, abuse and criminalization of sex workers, criminalization of those in need, discrimination, imprisonment, environmental destruction, restriction of movement, division of families, attacks on education, and so many more on a seemingly endless list.

In Indianapolis – a community that has responded by organizing harm reduction, mutual aid, and street medicine – and elsewhere, one must recognize how oppressive systems impact their bodies, separate individuals from community, and seek to disempower the agency within individuals. Bodies are receptors, transmitters, collaborators, and co-creators of systemic oppression; how do people embody change through their practices? How does one use the technologies of the body to come together and create something new?

Below are a few additional questions that might help you develop your proposal. This is not an exhaustive list; they are intended to give you an idea of the range of topics that may be explored:

  • How does your work address systemic impacts on the body?
  • How does your work address seen and unseen impacts such as restriction of movement, dehumanization, and isolation?
  • What liberatory tactics can people use to free their bodies from oppression and create sustainable freedom for the future?
  • Whose bodies are not normally centered in work, and why? What effects on the body are not being addressed?
  • What are the ways in which you use Pedagogy of the Oppressed, popular education, or Theatre of the Oppressed to connect individuals to their bodies for liberation?
  • How does this somatic focus align or differ with traditional use of Pedagogy of the Oppressed, popular education, or Theatre of the Oppressed?
  • How does your work address the way in which oppressive systems separate individuals from their bodies and ways by which people can connect back to their bodies, and their bodies to one another?
  • How does one address the fact that bodies have historically been used to uphold systems of oppression, or historically to fight against them? How do perceptions of bodies contribute to freedom or oppression?

If you are not sure how to communicate some part of your idea or how to submit a conference proposal, you can email with a question or idea, and collaborate to develop that idea. In addition, you can learn more about Pedagogy of the Oppressed and Theatre of the Oppressed at