Theatre for Dialogue

Who we are: 

“Theatre for Dialogue” is a group of activists who work with the methodology “Theatre of the oppressed” to create dialogue and social change in Ukraine. The initiative started in February 2014 as a movement of solidarity in response to the crisis in Ukraine during Euromaidan. Since then the initiative has organized and facilitated more than 20 theatre events in Kiev and across the country. Using theatre as the main tool, the initiative aims to build dialogue and look for bottom-up solutions with communities around urgent social issues, such as: the consequences of Maidan, corruption in the education system, gender stereotypes in Ukrainian society, career choice and civic activism of youth, life of internally displaced people in large cities of Ukraine and others. The initiative uses various techniques of interactive theatre, which are all part of “Theatre of the Oppressed” methodology.

Why theatre?

Founder of “Theatre of the Oppressed” Augusto Boal  defined theatre as “a space where someone acts and someone else is watching”. In that sense, he said  “Every person is theatre. Because we are all capable of acting and observing ourselves in action.” Unfortunately, through oppression and social injustice, many people have been deprived of their capacity to act, and have become only observers of their own lives. Through theatre, Boal wanted to return to people their inherent capacity to create, to act, to reflect upon their own actions, and thus become actors, and not only spectators of their own lives.

About the methodology

Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) is a theatre method created by a Brazilian theatre director and politician Augusto Boal in 1960 during military dictatorship in Brazil. With the help of TO Boal sought to create safe spaces people who struggled from oppression and injustice, so that they could equally participate in the creative process, discuss and find solutions for social and economic problems they face.

The methodology includes a system of games, exercises and techniques, which create opportunities for dialogue, critical reflection and active search for bottom-up solutions of social issues. As an interactive and participatory form of theatre, it helps people rehearse their actions and find in the safe space of theatre the opportunities which can later be used in real life. One of the most well-known tools of TO is Forum-theatre.

What is Forum-theatre (FT)?

FT is an innovative methodology, aimed at resolving social issues through theatrical games, exercises and scenes. The essence of the method lies in creating a forum-play based on the life experience of participants. The actors in these play are people without any theatrical experience, they are average people who face challenging life situations. During a preparatory workshop participants together with the Joker (facilitator of Forum Theatre) research the issues which they are facing, through games, exercises and scenes. While working on the play, the participants are better able to understand their own issues, share their stories and find support among other group members. At the end of the workshop, the group creates a forum-play, which shows a protagonist facing different challenges but not finding a solution. After seeing the play, spectators can discuss the issue, which the play raises, and then come on stage to replace one of the characters and show a possible solution of the problem. In such a way, actors and spectators discuss the issue together and jointly look for solutions.

To know more about “Theatre for Dialogue”, visit our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/theatrefordialogue or email us theatrefordialogueua@gmail.com

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Reopening comments

I took the liberty to open comments, that were closed. If closing them was intentional, let me know and I will close them back.

How can you tell when your work is effective?

Hello Oksana and thank you for taking time to share with us your work and approach.

On reading it my mind immedately went to Milgram’s social experiment around obedience to authority, one of the most famous experiments in the 20th century:

“In recent years, though, much of the attention has focused less on supporting or discrediting Milgram’s statistics, and more on rethinking his conclusions. With a paper published earlier this month in the British Journal of Social Psychology, Matthew Hollander, a sociology Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin, is among the most recent to question Milgram’s notion of obedience. After analyzing the conversation patterns from audio recordings of 117 study participants, Hollander found that Milgram’s original classification of his subjects—either obedient or disobedient—failed to capture the true dynamics of the situation. Rather, he argued, people in both categories tried several different forms of protest—those who successfully ended the experiment early were simply better at resisting than the ones that continued shocking.”

Is this something that resonates with you regarding your work- and giving people tools to behave differently in situations than they may otherwise have done…?

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