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Boal and Freire - Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed

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Matt Jennings

on 30 October 2013

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Transcript of Boal and Freire - Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed

The form has already been dogmatised by many who will argue at length over whether a particular project is ‘properly Boalian’
Boon and Plastow, 2004

Forum relies on public articulacy.
Thompson 2005, 131

Freirean pedagogy and Boalian theatre are revolutionary in their commitment to struggles for social and economic justice; however, they do not aim to convert students to any particular organisation or political philosophy. Their aims are broadly non-sectarian rather than narrowly political.

Mutnick 2006, 43 (in Cohen-Cruz and Schutzman)
Obviously the one that will spring to people's minds is Boal. To be honest I have mixed and matched all kinds of practices. I've used Laban work in my community theatre practice, I've used Stanislavsky. I've used Brecht…I’m a terrible and eclectic magpie.

Gerri Moriarty, interview with author, 18 April 2008
Boal has become such an iconic figure that you probably could get funding if you were doing Forum Theatre or some such form. But the thing is, if the essence of his work was really expressed in the community, people wouldn't want to fund it, because essentially he talks about training for revolution…the funders might not be so comfortable about it. But in a way it's been sanitised, and the forms are used for safer issues.

James King, interview with the author, 4 Dec 2007
Cohen-Cruz, J. and Schutzman, M. (eds.) (2006)

A Boal Companion: Dialogues on Theatre and Cultural Politics. London: Routledge.
A more equitable distribution of power recognises the part local knowledge, cultural languages and personal experiences have to play in the process of redefining and relocating the international discourse of human rights.
Nicholson 2005, 139
Low Art v. High Art – interaction v. silence

"By perpetuating the school as an instrument for social control and by dichotomising teaching from learning, educators forget Marx’s fundamental warning…“The educators should also be educated”."
Freire 1985, p. 105

‘Antidialogical’ – telling people how to think and behave

‘Naïve’ professional expert v. ‘humble’ dialogical activist

“Dialogue does not impose, does not manipulate, does not domesticate” (Freire 1972)
Freire & Boal:
Pedagogy & Theatre of the Oppressed (PTO)

Domesticating or Banking Education’ – telling people what they should know.

‘Culture of silence’ – values and ideas of power so dominant that people silence their own knowledge – ‘cop-in-the head’

‘Liberating’ education – teacher-learners and learner-teachers helping each other to open their minds and test the limits of what they already know
Dialogical cultural action

‘Teacher-learners’ and ‘learner-teachers’

‘Conscientisation’ – becoming more conscious of the political reasons for your problems

‘Generative themes’ – images, words or ideas that generate creative discussion of political factors in everyday life

‘Limit situations’ – situations where the community encounters their limits against the power of the system
Image Theatre Themes:

The Spect-actor

The poetics of the oppressed is essentially the poetics of liberation: the spectator no longer delegates power to the characters either to think or act in his place. The spectator frees himself; he thinks and acts for himself!

Boal, 1979, 155
Ethics, Participation, Empowerment & Development

Prentki, Rahnema, Breed, Moclair and Thornton, in Prentki and Preston (eds) (2009) The Applied Theatre Reader

'Incident of Cutting and Chopping', Thompson (2009) in Prentki and Preston (eds) The Applied Theatre Reader

For change to happen and to make sense, it should represent the open-ended quest and interaction of free and questioning persons for the understanding of reality.
(Rahnema 2009, 146)

Questions of Ethics and Participation:

Does the work give access to everybody who would benefit or needs help?

Are participants being exploited/endangered?

Are oppressive relationships and structures of authority being perpetuated or undermined?

Verbatim Theatre and Ethical Issues (e.g. Tricycle Theatre, Laramie Project, Theatre of Witness)

Who gets paid? Who gives permission? Who has control over edit and context?

How sensitive are professional artists to concerns, needs and desires of their subject?

What is really being said and how?

Boal, A. (1979) Theatre of the Oppressed. London: Pluto Press.

Boal. A. (2002) (trans. Jackson, A.) Games for Actors and Non-Actors. London: Routledge.

Boon, R. and Plastow, J. (eds) (2004) Theatre and Empowerment: Community Drama on the World Stage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cohen-Cruz, J. and Schutzman, M. (eds.) (2006) A Boal companion : dialogues on theatre and cultural politics . London : Routledge.

Dwyer, Paul (2004) ‘Augusto Boal and the Woman in Lima: a Poetic Encounter’ New Theatre Quarterly, vol. 20, no. 2, 155-163.

Freire, P. (1972) (trans. Bergman Ramos, M.) Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

Freire, P. (1985) The Politics of Education: Culture, Power, and Liberation. Basingstoke: Macmillan.

Freire, P. (1998) Pedagogy of Hope. New York: Continuum.

Prentki, T. (2008) ‘A response to the Special Issue: ‘Drama for Citizenship and Human Rights’, Research in Drama Education. vol. 13, no. 3, 353-369.

Prentki, T. and Preston, S. (eds) (2009) The Applied Theatre Reader. Oxon: Routledge.

Thompson, J. (2005) Digging up History: Applied Theatre, Performance and War. Manchester: Manchester University Press
'The Wheel' - Key Words

Aesthetics Facilitation Community
Efficacy Identity Hegemony
Participation Conflict Culture
Empowerment Disability Praxis
Access Ideology Process
Product Advocacy Authenticity
Devising Pedagogy Learning
Representation Collaboration Ethics
Dialogue Dialectics Transformation
Full transcript