By Alyson Evans, Drama Development Worker
‘During my visit to Darwin I facilitated some Forum Theatre workshops for professionals in the region. I was asked to facilitate these workshops during early discussions with Darwin Community Arts, as Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed was something organisations in Darwin were interested in perusing, as DCA recently held some Rainbow of Desire workshops and all were keen to learn more.
Even though the focus was on it being training sessions, the workshop were still structured as usual, starting with some bonding and trust exercises. These included games to get to know each other, ease the group to feel comfortable with one another and break the ice in a fun way. Games like ‘friend and enemy’ where you pick 2 people and have to get your friend as far away as your enemy as possible had the group rolling with laughter, and the physical aspect added to the bonding.
Some focus exercises were then used to bring the group back together and was done as a group movement where each person took a turn in leading the group around the room using interesting shapes. From here I introduced Image Theatre which is an important part of Boal’s work. This method is a great way to explore feelings and scenario’s in a non-threatening way and gives the group a comfortable way to start thinking of and showing oppressive situations.
Then the workshop progressed to creating Forum Theatre, as throughout the process so far the group had slowly built up enough confidence and understanding to create short scenes. What was interesting was the different scenes that were created, but, as we all agreed to our group contract that included confidentiality, I wont discuss them here! When the scenes were run, the audience (or “spect-actors” as called by Boal) were given the chance to stop the action and change the oppressed person’s action with the aim of creating a better outcome.
I really had a great time facilitating these workshops as everyone fully took part with great enthusiasm and lots of interest. I hope that they have all used aspects of this in their work since, whether it be looking at situations through Image or Forum Theatre, or used the equally important games and exercises.’
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