1st Edition

Theatre of the Oppressed and its Times

By Julian Boal Copyright 2023
    166 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Political theatre, like any kind of political action, can only be judged in relation to the political moment in which it tries to intervene. Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) was created to fight against dictatorship and an extremely centralized conception of politics. How does it function now, in a time of social media and so-called participatory democracies?

    Providing an in-depth account of the political and cultural context in which TO emerged, this book asks: How do contemporary understandings of concepts like oppression, representation, participation, and emancipation shape TO today? Highlighting the pitfalls of reducing oppression to one-to-one relationships, the book proposes a version of Forum Theatre dramaturgy that portrays oppression as a defining structure of societies. The author also shares specific examples of movements and other organizations that use Theatre of the Oppressed to construct themselves.

    Theatre of the Oppressed and Its Times is an essential text for practitioners and scholars of TO, applied theatre practitioners, students, and anyone interested in how theatre can concretely assist in the transformation of the world.

    Part 1: Criticizing a Critical Theatre  1. For a Political History of Theatre of the Oppressed  2. Theatre of the Oppressed as a Formal Critique of the Brazilian Communist Party  3. Theatre of the Oppressed and Epic Theatre: Notes on Two Attempts to Overcome the Bourgeois Drama  4. Critiques of Theatre of the Oppressed  5. Theatre of the Oppressed in Neoliberal Times: From Che Guevara to the Uber Driver  6. Notes on Oppression  7. Facilitation/Mechanization  Part 2: Small Screws, Big Twists  8. What Can Art Do in the Anti-Capitalist Struggle?  Part 3: Are There No Alternatives?  9. Examples but Not Models: Against Well-Made TO, and for Well-Adapted TO  10. The Search for a Subjunctive Theatre  11. Exercises for a More Dialectical Practice of Forum Theatre


    Julian Boal is a teacher, researcher, and practitioner of Theatre of the Oppressed. He has facilitated workshops in more than 25 countries and is pedagogical coordinator of Escola de Teatro Popular.