1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to Theatre of the Oppressed

Edited By Kelly Howe, Julian Boal, José Soeiro Copyright 2019
    462 Pages
    by Routledge

    462 Pages
    by Routledge

    This dynamic book offers a comprehensive companion to the theory and practice of Theatre of the Oppressed. Developed by Brazilian director and theorist Augusto Boal, these theatrical forms invite people to mobilize their knowledge and rehearse struggles against oppression.

    Featuring a diverse array of voices (many of them as yet unheard in the academic world), the book hosts dialogues on the following questions, among others:

    • Why and how did Theatre of the Oppressed develop?

    • What are the differences between the 1970s (when Theatre of the Oppressed began) and today?

    • How has Theatre of the Oppressed been shaped by local and global shifts of the last 40-plus years?

    • Why has Theatre of the Oppressed spread or "multiplied" across so many geographic, national, and cultural borders?

    • How has Theatre of the Oppressed been shaped by globalization, "development," and neoliberalism?

    • What are the stakes, challenges, and possibilities of Theatre of the Oppressed today?

    • How can Theatre of the Oppressed balance practical analysis of what is with ambitious insistence on what could be?

    • How can Theatre of the Oppressed hope, but concretely?

    Broad in scope yet rich in detail, The Routledge Companion to Theatre of the Oppressed contains practical and critical content relevant to artists, activists, teachers, students, and researchers.


    Abbreviation List

    Editor and Contributor Biographies


    Introduction: Theatre of the Oppressed and its Time(s)

    Kelly Howe, Julian Boal, and José Soeiro



    New York and After: Gassner, Realism, and the "Method"

    Frances Babbage

    Teatro de Arena, Brazil, Boal: Between Farces and Allegories

    Priscila Matsunaga

    Augusto Boal and the Nuestra América (Our America) Theatre

    Douglas Estevam

    Agitprop and Theatre of the Oppressed

    Iná Camargo Costa

    Epic Theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed: Brecht and, Modestly, [Boal]

    Jorge Louraço Figueira

    Paulo Freire and Augusto Boal: Praxis, Poetry, and Utopia

    Paolo Vittoria

    Critical Frames

    Theatre of the Oppressed as a Dialectical Game?

    José Soeiro and Julian Boal

    Constraints and Possibilities in the Flesh: The Body in Theatre of the Oppressed

    Kelly Howe

    Contradictions of Theatre of the Oppressed

    Sergio de Carvalho

    Identities, Otherness, and Emancipation in Theatre of the Oppressed

    Julian Boal and José Soeiro


    Three Examples of Tangled Systems of Oppression

    Capitalism and Environmental Destruction

    Michael Löwy

    Racism, Colonialism, Imperialism

    James McMaster

    Patriarchy and Heteronormativity

    Kelly Howe

    From Roots to Branches

    Games: Demechanization and Serious Fun

    An interview with Cora Fairstein, Birgit Fritz, and Roberto Mazzini

    Newspaper Theatre: The Oldest Branch of TO in the Post-Print Present

    Sabrina Speranza

    Image Theatre: A Liberatory Practice for "Making Thought Visible"

    Alexander Santiago-Jirau and S. Leigh Thompson

    Invisible Theatre: From Origins to Current Uses

    Rafael Villas Bôas

    Forum Theatre: A Dramaturgy of Collective Questioning

    An interview with Inês Barbosa, Vanesa Camarda, and Paul Dwyer

    The Rainbow of Desire: Boal and Doubt

    Adrian Jackson

    Legislative Theatre: Can Theatre Reinvent Politics?

    José Soeiro

    Aesthetics of the Oppressed: Self-Criticism and Re-Foundation of Theatre of the Oppressed

    Bárbara Santos


    Changing Landscapes in Late Capitalism

    Neoliberalism and the Alternative of the Common

    Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval

    Indignant Democracy: Problems of Legitimization in Neoliberal Capitalism

    Juan Carlos Monedero

    Art and the Wreckage

    Marildo Menegat

    Critical Reflections on the Early Multiplication of Theatre of the Oppressed

    The Difficult Exile in Argentina, or The "Sabbatical Year" of Boal

    An interview with Cecilia Thumim Boal

    Dialectics of Theatre of the Oppressed During Augusto Boal’s Portuguese Exile

    Paulo Bio Toledo

    The Beginnings of Theatre of the Oppressed in France

    Jean-François Martel

    Theatre of the Oppressed, Not Theatre for the Oppressed:

    Origins of Jana Sanskriti and Evolutions of TO in India

    An interview with Sanjoy Ganguly

    Early Conferences in the US: PTO and its Roots in the Academy

    Douglas Paterson

    Theatre of the Oppressed in Senegal: TO "Proposed That We Dare Ourselves to Dream"

    An interview with Mamadou Diol


    Theatre of the Oppressed in Neoliberal Times: From Che Guevara to the Uber Driver

    Julian Boal


    Workshops: The Modularization of TO Pedagogy

    An interview with Sruti Bala

    Gatherings: Between Market Pressure and "Critical Generosity"

    An interview with Aleksandar Bancic, Ezequiel Basualdo, and Amarílis Felizes

    Political Organizations: La Dignidad--Theatre and Politics in Movement

    Escuela de Teatro Político

    Schools: Theatre of the Oppressed with Youth

    Charles N. Adams, Jr.

    NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations): Challenges and Limitations

    Geo Britto

    Therapy: Theatre of the Oppressed and/as Therapeutic Praxis

    An interview with Brent Blair, Iwan Brioc, and Mady Schutzman

    Community: Notion and Feeling, Goal and Strategy

    A dialogue with Chen Alon, Sonja Arsham Kuftinec, and Jan Cohen-Cruz

    Academia: Theatre of the Oppressed in Colleges and Universities

    An interview with Charles N. Adams, Jr., Dani Snyder-Young, and Alessandro Tolomelli

    Practices in Context

    Jana Sanskriti: Continuous Presence, Aesthetical Rigor, and Political and Social Movement

    Sanjoy Ganguly

    Féminisme-Enjeux: Challenges and Paradoxes of a Feminist Theatre of the Oppressed Company

    Gwenaelle Ferré

    Peles Negras, Máscaras Negras (Black Skins, Black Masks): Maria 28, Racism, and Domestic Work

    chullage and raquel

    MSTB (Roofless Movement of Bahia): An Experience of Theatre and Struggle

    Fernanda Moscoso de Jesus Sousa, Leila Kissia D’Andreamatteo, Nivaldo Souza Ferreira, and Theo da Rocha Barreto

    Forn de teatre Pa'tothom: A Space for Projects, Training, and Social Struggle

    Jordi Forcadas

    GTO Montevideo: A Theatre Within a Campaign

    Sabrina Speranza

    National Egyptian Project for Theatre of the Oppressed and the Arab Network of Theatre of the Oppressed

    Nora Amin

    Theatre of the Oppressed NYC: Radical Partnerships On the Ground in New York City

    Katy Rubin



    Message by Augusto Boal, World Theatre Day, 2009


    List of Selected Key Terms



    Kelly Howe is a teacher/writer/activist based at Loyola University Chicago. She served twice as president of Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed (PTO) and co-organized three of its conferences. She also co-edited Theatre of the Oppressed in Actions with Julian Boal and Scot McElvany.

    Julian Boal is a well-known Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner who has realized workshops in more than 25 countries around the world. He recently completed his PhD, entitled "On Old Forms in New Times: Theatre of the Oppressed Today, Between a 'Rehearsal of Revolution' and Interactive Training for the Victims".

    José Soeiro is a Portuguese sociologist, political activist, and researcher. He is currently a Member of Parliament. He was responsible for "Estudantes por Empréstimo," the first Legislative Theatre project in Portugal, and is one of the organizers of Óprima!—a Gathering of Theatre of the Oppressed and Activism.