Forum Theatre – What’s Your Problem? – Identifying Issues and Solutions through theatre of the oppressed
As part of getting out and meeting the groups it was a great pleasure to attend and take part in a Forum Theatre Workshop with Leitrim Disability Equality Network in Manorhamilton last July.
What is Forum Theatre?
In theory, Forum Theatre applies drama techniques and participation in theatre practice to explore issues and possible solutions. A safe and friendly space is created amongst the participants and everyone gets to be an actor, director and a member of the audience. Thinking about the real-life scenarios created and how actions of one or more can change the scene stimulates action, discussion and debate. It’s part of a range of techniques known as Theatre of the Oppressed aimed at addressing social change formulated by acclaimed Brazilian, Augusta Boal.
In practice, it’s a lot of fun…
After some icebreakers to loosen us up and get to know one another, Peter Kearns of St. Angela’s College Sligo & Disability Equality Specialist Support Agency (DESSA) provided the impetus for the workshop as the actors, all people with disabilities, performed a number scenes for the audience to interpret and change. All the examples were taken from real life and provided us with challenges. Here’s one for you to think about.
A wheelchair user with his carer is trying to get into a taxi in Carrick on Shannon. In this scenario, the driver is refusing to take them as passengers even though they need to get to a hospital appointment. Through the workshop all the participants had to identify what could be going on and then try to find ways of changing the physical positions of the actors in line with the emotions and changed point of view that might affect the situation positively. Peter didn’t go easy on the community workers present and we were directly challenged as to the practical measures that we might take to help with the situation.
Coming away from the workshop, the deepest impression was of how the members of Leitrim Disability Equality Network so eloquently expressed themselves. All of us – living and working in communities, members of groups, attending events – can identify our own community needs and how they could be addressed. This workshop demonstrated this perfectly. Real life experiences were teased out and solutions were explored from different points of view. Most importantly, the participants suggested what might come next. Are these solutions realistic? Who or what do we need to affect in order to get change?
A big Thank You to the Leitrim Disability Equality Network for inviting the PPN along.
For more about Forum Theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed CLICK HERE
To contact Leitrim Disability Equality Network call 071 98 56016.