Introduction to Theatre of the Oppressed and Forum Theatre


Alumnae Hall, Crystal Room

This three-part/three-day, introductory workshop in Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed is an opportunity for people from diverse backgrounds and with various levels of experience to participate in the development process of Forum Theatre. Led by Ellie Friedland, Ph.D. and Christina Marín, Ph.D, workshop goers will start with Theatre of the Oppressed Games and Image Theatre to develop trust and build community. Together, participants and facilitators will develop a Forum Theatre event, starting with the sharing of personal stories, through the development and rehearsal of anti-model scenes, culminating in a public event during which the scenes will be performed and audience members (spect-actors) will make interventions on stage.

Participants should wear clothing comfortable for movement, and should plan attend for the whole workshop and the final evening performance. No acting experience is needed.

Schedule of Workshop Meeting Times (September 20-22, 2013): 

Friday, September 20: 6:00pm - 9:00pm 
Saturday, September 21: 9:30am - 5:30pm 
Sunday, September 22: 9:30am - 4:00pm  
(Public Performance: 6:00pm - 8:00pm)

Advance registration is required, no later than September 15.
Registration fee: $30, waived for Brown and RISD students. 

Please visit the secure registration site to submit both student and regular registration requests. ( 

About the Facilitators

Ellie Friedland, Ph.D.
Ellie has been an activist educator, writer, and performer for more than 25 years, and has been a Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner since 2001.  She has conducted workshops in Theatre of the Oppressed for groups of social workers, lawyers, educators, community activists, and teens in the US and Guatemala.  She is an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at Wheelock College in Boston, and leads Theatre of the Oppressed groups for teens through the nationally renowned Wheelock Family Theatre.   Ellie integrates Theatre of the Oppressed into her teaching, and her professional development for teachers in anti-bias education and cultural competence. She works with public school teachers in Guatemala, and  with Safe Passage, a program for children and families who live and work in the Guatemala City Dump. Ellie is past president of Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed, a professional organization focused on the liberatory educational and theatre approaches of Paulo Friere and Augusto Boal.  Her book, Come Closer: Critical Perspectives on Theatre of the Oppressed, co-edited with Dr. Toby Emert, was published by Peter Lang, Inc. in 2011. Ellie worked as an outreach child and family psychotherapist for ten years, serving families with severe physical and sexual child abuse. She studied and taught at the Actors Institute in Boston and New York, and founded and led the Clown Jewels Clown Troupe in Boston. Before that she studied and performed clowning with the Cumeezi Bozo Ensemble in New York City.

Christina Marín, Ph.D.
Christina is an Assistant Professor of Performing Arts at Emerson College. She teaches courses in Theatre of the Oppressed; Human Rights in Theatre; and Theatre, Performance & Community. She has been working as an international Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner since 2002, and has conducted workshops and taught classes in Colombia, Turkey, South Africa, and Singapore, as well as in numerous cities around the U.S. She has worked with groups of all ages, including community college students, high school populations, and middle school girls through the Girls’ Leadership Camp in Meriden, New Hampshire. She has also conducted intergenerational work using Theatre of the Oppressed in Phoenix, Arizona. Her dissertation, Breaking Down Barriers, Building Dreams: Using Theatre for Social Change to Explore the Concept of Identity with Latina Adolescents is an arts-based research study that interrogates the use of Theatre of the Oppressed techniques as qualitative research methodology.