Forum Theaters enables participants to find creative solutions to identified problems through theater and try out courses of action which could be applicable to their everyday lives.

Forum Theater was developed in the 1960s by Brazilian theatre director Augusto Boal. It is a theatrical game in which a problem is shown in an unsolved form, to which the audience, as spect-actors, is invited to suggest and enact solutions.The goal of Forum Theater is to make
people more aware of some problems that they may have not considered previously. Forum Theater scenarios are designed to stimulate audience participation through discussion, interactive role-playing and shared experiences. Audience members are allowed to attempt their solutions until they feel satisfied they have done everything they have wanted to do. After the Forum scene has been worked through, discussion can take place about the scene’s issue(s). Participants explore the complexity of the individual/group relation at a variety of levels of human exchange. They are invited to map out:

a) the dynamics of power within and between groups;

b) the experience and the fear of powerlessness within the individual; and

c) rigid patterns of perception that generate miscommunication and conflict, as well as ways of transforming them.

The aim of the forum is not to find an ideal solution, but to invent new ways of confronting problems.

Participants in groups are invited to perform a short play showing a situation of oppression connected with their group theme. The problem is always the symptom of an oppression, and generally involves visible oppressors and a protagonist who is oppressed. The play is shown twice. During the replay, any member of the audience (‘spect-actor’) is allowed to shout ‘Stop!’, step forward and take the place of one of the oppressed characters, showing how they could change the situation to enable a different outcome. Several alternatives may be explored by different spect-actors. The other actors remain in character, improvising their responses. The game is a form of contest between spect-actors trying to bring the play to a different end (in which the cycle of oppression is broken) and actors ostensibly making every possible effort to
bring it to its original end (in which the oppressed is beaten and the oppressors are triumphant). The process is presided over by the ‘Joker’- whose job is to ensure a smooth running of the game and teach the audience the rules, however, like all participants can be replaced if the spect-actors think they aren’t doing a good enough job. Many different solutions are enacted in the course of a single forum and the result is a pooling of knowledge, tactics and experience.

More information about the project you can find on the following link:

http://www.associazioneprism.eu/

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