Forum Theatre seminars

The simplest of exercises, two persons mirroring each other, can reveal so much about us. This is also the case for the other games we can play

Morten Bruun

“For me the week with Morten’s seminar was something new. I remembered my childhood through the games we learned”

Roxana

Augusto Boal’s work in collective drama processes are known today as Forum Theatre. The games and exercises allow us to explore our common humanity and need for expression. Sadly, no-one but drama students normaly receive such training. Thats why it’s always rewarding to engage a group of co-workers or peers in playing out scenarios from their lives. The act of playing out and responding to others also enhances the social flexibility of the participants.

You are learning that empowering people to access their sources of creativity, their non-rational sources, their creative arts resources, can deepen their sense of self-esteem and open the sense of what life is about.

Forum Theatre is a great way to develop the relations within a group, when we create trust and empathy, we flourish! Drama techniques are also very useful in helping people to express themselves better.

Through simple exercises that everybody can do, we gradually build trust in the group to allow openness and willingness to explore. Can we talk to each other in different ways? Do you really know how to listen?

Bringing people together for workshops has allowed me to expand on the traditions of Forum Theatre and develop my own approach. As well as learning from Boal, the ideas of Jacob L Moreno and Adam Blatner has influenced my work in this field.

My workshops have supported teambuilding efforts in organizations as diverse as the Red Cross and employees in public sector in Norway.

Excellent course and excellent trainer. I can only applaud the abilities of Mr. Bruun. He managed to get us out of the daily stress, problems etc. and he introduced us to the wonderful world of communication

N. Constantin

Augusto Boal


(1931 – 2009)

The origins of Forum Theatre

Brazilian Dr. Augusto Boal was raised in Rio de Janeiro. He was formally trained in chemical engineering and attended Columbia University in the late 1940′s and early 1950′s. His work at the Arena Theatre led to his experimentation with new forms of theatre that would have an extraordinary impact on traditional practice. Prior to his experimentation, and following tradition, audiences were invited to discuss a play at the end of the performance. In so doing, according to Boal, they remained viewers and “reactors” to the action before them. In the 1960′s Boal developed a process whereby audience members could stop a performance and suggest different actions for the character experiencing oppression, and the actor playing that character would then carry out the audience suggestions. For Boal this was the birth of the spect-actor (not spectator) and his theatre was transformed.

The audience is shown a short play in which a central character (protagonist) encounters a form of oppression or obstacle which s/he is unable to overcome. The subject-matter will usually be something of immediate importance to the audience, often based on a shared life experience.

When the play has been performed members of the audience can take to the stage and suggest alternative options for how the protagonist could have acted. In this way, the event can be used to rehearse for an imminent occasion, or to uncover and analyse alternatives in any situation, past, present or future. The actors explore the results of these choices with the audience creating a kind of theatrical debate, in which experiences and ideas are rehearsed and shared, generating both solidarity and a sense of empowerment.