This fall, as part of the 40-Day Practice: Strengthening Emotional Stamina to Counter White Fragility, I’m facilitating two workshops using theatre of the oppressed.
I invite you to join one or both of these workshops, if you’d like to experience Augusto Boal’s powerful approach, rehearse interventions into everyday racism, and connect with others engaged in this work.
Here are the workshop dates and description:
Friday, October 16th 2-5pm Eastern
Friday, November 6th 2-5pm Eastern
Using theatre of the oppressed, we will reflect on what’s come up through the daily practice and extend emotional self-work into action (i.e., “taking the practice off the mat”). Together, we’ll witness and then stop the re-enactment of troubling scenes, suggest/act alternative resolutions, and rehearse interventions into everyday microaggressions. This process builds readiness for making real-time interventions and equips us to act in our everyday lives for racial justice. (And, yes: this 3-hour workshop will include breaks because I know it’s a long time to meet via Zoom.)
Why theatre of the oppressed?
As I’ve written with frequent co-author and research partner Rasha Diab:
“In our lives we often witness oppressive situations. We witness them, but do not consider the possibility of intervening. To disrupt this pattern, we find real value in Augusto Boal’s theatre of the oppressed. To educators, Boal is perhaps best known for his book Theatre of the Oppressed (1973). Drawing on contemporary and friend Paulo Freire’s educational imperative—pedagogy of the oppressed—Boal developed theatrical techniques (e.g., Forum Theatre, Image Theatre, and Crossed Reading) that promote analysis of oppressive situations and the enactment of solutions.
What is innovative about Boal’s approach is that he found a way to engage witnesses, enabling us to be more than spectators. When we become what Boal called Spect-Actor, we can stop the re-enactment of troubling scenes, step in, suggest/act an alternative way to resolve the situation, and offer an end to this case of oppression. The process of re-enacting such scenes, stopping them, and suggesting/rehearsing alternatives enables us to see the possibility of change. This process allows us to practice taking action and intervening.”
You can read more about why we believe in this approach in the open-access lesson plan: “Forum Theatre: Using Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed to Build Receptive Competence.”
My hope is that the workshop will allow for getting deep into questions that often come up through this work—questions like:
- When and where is it my responsibility to act?
- How do I speak up without speaking over others?
- How do I learn to notice more and respond real-time to microaggressions?
- What guidelines could I use for speaking, writing, and acting for racial justice?
- What can I do when my heart is racing and I need time to feel-think into a response?
- How do I interact with family who refuse to hear what I’m saying?
- How do I notice when whiteness and white fragility are shaping my responses?
- How do I develop emotional literacies for showing up consistently?
- How do I speak up or take action when I’m not sure what to say?
- How do I recognize when I need rest and rest in ways that allow for showing up?
- In what ways do I need to unlearn how I’m using my own power?
- How do I shift my actions from the conditioned stance of power over toward facilitative power to and relational power with?
How do I act on commitments to social and racial justice?
As everyday practice?
As long-haul investment?
Throughout all my life?
In every interaction?
As a site for learning and unlearning?
With humility and courage?
With an attitude of striving?
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