Part of the ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’ and created by Brazilian theatre director Augusto Boal, Forum Theatre is an applied drama technique and participatory theatre practice created to empower audience individuals to determine social change. Lead by an oppressive political and social background, Boal’s efforts consisted in establishing a dialog between audience and stage with the aim of exploring the real needs and issues of his community. The theatrical act by itself is a conscious intervention, a rehearsal for social action based on a collective analysis of shared problems of oppression.
From time to time, Immersive Theatre is holding an Intensive Forum Theatre Workshop designed for artists and creatives from all walks of life, teachers and educators, social and cultural activists, charities representatives and anyone who is going to benefit from a deep insight into applied drama techniques.
Participants are being equipped with solid knowledge of the Forum Theatre technique and participatory theatre practices. In addition, they have the chance to explore means of devising dramatic content and narratives and gain ‘on site’ experience in facilitating creative programs for education purposes.
Other skills: conflict management and reconciliation, cross-cultural communication, negotiation and team building.
How it works: We called it Intensive Forum Theatre Workshop because we are committed to guide our participants through the whole process of creating and managing a forum theatre play, including the production of an actual piece of work to be delivered in front of the audience. This is why our workshop is suitable for established groups and as residency in theatres, organisations and companies. Full assistance is provided for research, writing the script and artistic direction.
The role of applied drama
Immersive Theatre is making use of Augusto Boal’s Forum Theatre and other means of creatively interrogating contemporary concerns by placing individuals and communities at the core of the cultural production. Applied drama is closely related to present-day questions about the politics of context, place and meaning of social relations, and by working with drama techniques brings into focus matters of identity and belonging. This contextual theatre practice is intended to address the concerns of local audiences and participants, while theatre becomes the medium by which the society can be changed through the collective exploration of ideas.
The role of participation
By participating, audiences are enabled to make decisions, to address critically the issues presented to them and to reflect on the social life within a safe environment offered by the theatrical design. Moreover, immersing in different situations has an unequaled power to entertain. Imagine playing an online computer game, where the success of a task depends on the collaboration with an unknown player. Computer games are known for their property to entertain, to raise self-confidence of the players in the skills they are acquiring and to provide a safe social and cultural environment where different individuals create an ideal community. Now imagine a similar design, but in a real space, with people you can see and interact closely. Imagine how human interaction can intensify the experience and boost the proliferation of skills and knowledge while participants are enjoying a highly entertainment activity.
Theatre as representation
As one of the finest ways to understand and experience societies, communities and people, theatre empowers and represents at the same time. Contemporary practices, such devised theatre and applied drama can act as prompters of the community voice and endorse the most fundamental issues that impact on our daily lives.