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What is theatre forum?

Theatre forum and Theatre of the Oppressed more broadly are interactive forms of theatre originally conceptualised by Augusto Boal in communities facing oppression in rural areas of Brazil and subsequently developed by other practitioners worldwide.

Unlike traditional theatre, the audience in theatre forum has the opportunity to intervene, thus transforming its members into "specta(c)tors" (hence the name of our association).

In practice, how does a theatre forum by Specta(c)tor unfold?

We always begin with simple and effective warm-ups to create a sense of support and community within the group, awaken the collective imagination, and get into our bodies.

Next, we present a scene lasting between thirty seconds and ten minutes in which all the characters make poor decisions, leading to a negative outcome.

At the end of the scene, the audience is asked whether they believe the situations presented exist in reality and whether they find them unacceptable. Since our scenes are created based on substantial research, both questions almost always receive a unanimous “yes!”

The scenes are then replayed, but this time, members of the audience have the opportunity to interact with the scene in various ways, including saying 'stop.' When this happens, the person who spoke up is invited (never forced) to come on stage to take the place of a character and show what that character could have done to find a better resolution to the situation. The actors respond to these suggestions with improvisation techniques fueled by their own research on the subject.

Thanks to our role as facilitators rather than teachers, our approach allows for the group to gain an awareness of the tools and solutions that already exist within the group. We acknowledge the need for awareness-raising workshops in which new tools are introduced from the outside, but we adopt a different stance that also deserves its place.

Therefore, our theatre forums enable the testing of different ways of acting in problematic situations, all within a safe, caring environment that encourages discussion.

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