Theatre of the Oppressed techniques

Applied Theatre Workshops employ a variety of processes based on Theatre of the Oppressed to define issues, clarify objectives, build skills, and rehearse practical action by engaging participants in interactive theatre techniques and exercises.

Game playing is one of the core activities of Applied Theatre. An extensive arsenal of well-crafted and expertly facilitated games allows participants to stretch the limits of their imaginations, demechanize habitual behaviors, develop new responses, and analyze societal structures of power and oppression. Game playing is useful, fun, and builds community!

St. CharlesImage Theatre allows participants to explore situations they would like to change and see what positive transformation looks and feels like by sculpting their own and others’ bodies into images of problems and transformation. Images are “dynamized” with words and actions to develop processes for making transformative change.

Forum Theatre performances present short plays which show a situation that needs to be changed. Audience members are invited to replace an actor on stage and try to change the situation. Other actors respond in character, trying to maintain their oppressive or exploitative power. Forum Theatre provides a means for testing solutions in action. The audience makes and evaluates all choices. Some of the groups with whom CAT works create and perform their own Forum Theatre pieces, while others supply us with information from which we develop scripts. Legislative Theatre is an extension of Forum Theatre which leads to public policy proposals.

Rainbow of Desire exercises use Image and Forum Theatre to explore internalized oppression as the result of external, social, and systemic pressures. Participants develop an understanding of self-oppression as a way of increasing empathy and exploring opportunities for creative expression and public transformation.