What is Theatre of the Oppressed?
Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) is a body of theatre founded by the late Brazilian director, scholar and activist, Augusto Boal. It is used in over 70 countries as an educational tool and a means of personal and social transformation. This transformation comes from the practice of helping the participants to see, analyze and act upon their own oppressions, internal and external. The last word, “act” is one of the keys to TO as spectators evolve into “spect-actors” with the ability to affect the outcomes of the circumstances presented to them on the stage and rehearse actions that can later be used outside of the workshop space to create positive change in the world around us.
What is this workshop about?
Rainbow of Desire is a body of techniques within the Theatre of the Oppressed which draws upon personal experiences, focusing on internalized oppressions – the voices in our heads that prevent us from living fully. The techniques were developed by Boal in response to his work with European and North American participants who had trouble defining external “oppressors”, but none-the-less had their own difficult demons to battle - emptiness and fear.
Individuals who take part in this workshop will have the opportunity to learn and practice these techniques in addition to a broad spectrum of TO games and Image Theatre techniques. Participants will also benefit from an introduction to the history and political context of the development of TO.
The proposed workshop, Theatre of the Oppressed: A Workshop in Rainbow of Desire will take place in Ithaca, NY on the Ithaca College campus. This 2-day intensive training happening November of 2012 will be open to up to 30 participants.
The workshop is sponsored in part by Performing Arts for Social Change, an initiative of Cornell University's Center for Transformative Action and the Wild Goat Theatre Project.We also have support from a number of Ithaca College students and professors who are interested in seeing the this workshop take place including Cynthia Henderson, associate professor of acting and Alyssa Stoeckl, junior in Theatre Arts Management who have been assisting in advertisement and logistics.
Who will this workshop be open to?
Everyone! The reason for this fundraiser is to keep this workshop free for all participants, because we believe in making education available to everyone. The workshop will be advertised throughout the Ithaca community including Ithaca College, Cornell University, Tompkins Cortland Community College and local businesses and public spaces. The workshop is open to folks from any background or discipline, particularly non-actors. While our advertising will be done only in the Ithaca area to support local organizations, the workshop will be open to people from out-of-state and out-of-country as well.
But why Ithaca?
Ithaca College has a flourishing Theatre Arts program with many graduating students who continue on in theatre throughout their career. And among its students there is a growing interest in community-based and educational theatre. Ithaca College was chosen as the location for this workshop to help encourage and further develop this interest with the hope of one-day seeing regular classes in Community-Based Theatre held on its campus. And with the town of Ithaca itself being constantly a-buzz with talk of social change, equality and environmental sustainability, what better stage to bring this learning opportunity to?
Who are the facilitators?
Laine Forman and Jamie Samowitz, two incredibly passionate and talented women who have had the opportunity to learn from and work with Augusto Boal personally and who have since been traveling the country, and even the world teaching and learning more about Theatre of the Oppressed. Below are their bios so you can see for yourself!
Jamie Samowitz: Jamie Samowitz is a New York and Brazil-based educator and workshop facilitator; she graduated from New College of Florida with a degree in Anthropology. Jamie completed an intensive apprenticeship with Augusto Boal at the Center for Theatre of the Oppressed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (CTO-Rio), after which she facilitated independently at youth centers and adult education centers in the rural northeast of Brazil. Jamie spent six months as a TO facilitator in residence at YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities in New York, where she facilitated workshops focused on analyzing and overcoming discrimination in the workplace. She is the author of an online training manual for TO facilitators titled "How to Get a Group Laughing, Moving, and Thinking in New Ways Using Theater of the Oppressed". Jamie is currently a freelance facilitator in both the US and Brazil, and is a co-founder and artistic director of the Wild Goat Theater Project, a community-based theater company using participatory arts for personal and social transformation. Jamie is completing her Masters of Science at Antioch University New England with a focus on sustainable development and climate change; she plans to develop curriculum utilizing interactive theater techniques to explore issues around global environmental change. In 2011 & 2012 Jamie was awarded the New College Alumnae/i Fellowship to teach an intensive Theater of the Oppressed course for January interterm.
Laine Forman: Laine Forman is a San
Francisco-based artist and educator. She facilitates Theater of the Oppressed
workshops with a variety of populations including at-risk youth, prison
inmates, and immigrants. Laine graduated from New College of Florida with a
degree in Anthropology. Her thesis, Whose
Development in 'Theatre for Development'?: Donors, Directors and Local
Participation in a South African Non-Governmental Organization was
based on her seven-month experience working with a Theater of the Oppressed
organization in Cape Town, South Africa. Laine is a skilled actor and has
worked with a variety of theater companies including Bread and Puppet and the
San Francisco Mime Troupe. She is a co-founder and artistic director of the
Wild Goat Theater Project, a community-based theater company using
participatory arts for personal and social transformation. Laine was trained in
Theater of the Oppressed by its founder, Augusto Boal, was
awarded the New College Alumnae/i Fellowship to teach an intensive Theater of
the Oppressed course for January interterm 2011 & 2012. She is currently completing
her Masters in Expressive Arts in Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding at
the European Graduate School in Switzerland.
How do I help?
We’re glad you asked! If you would like to help make this project a reality, please donate using one of the links to the right. Your contribution will go toward bringing the facilitators to Ithaca, covering supplies and advertising costs and keeping this workshop FREE for all of its participants.
You can also help by “Liking” us on Facebook and spreading the word about this workshop to your friends and family. We appreciate all the word of mouth we can get! And you can follow our progress on Facebook as well!
I guess there's nothing more to say except, **Thank You!** Thanks for your interest and thanks for your support!
See you in November!
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