Augusto Boal – Theatre of the Oppressed Founder

Augusto Boal (1931-2009) is internationally known as a Writer, Director and Teacher.

Boal believed that people can use theatre to challenge the oppression they face in everyday life. Through techniques such as Image Theatre, Invisible Theatre, Forum Theatre and techniques like Cop in the Head and Rainbow of Desire, participants learn to use theatre as a means to confront and challenge oppressive behaviour. Boal’s practice and theories are now very much part of theatre practices across the world.

Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) is an exploration of highly visual techniques, which help to bond audience with performer, exploring complex issues around isolation, oppression and social and political change. Its key aim is to energise the participants so they become more than spectators, exploring and transforming the reality in which they are living.

Over the years Mind the Gap has worked with Augusto in Bradford, using many of the TO techniques with artists with learning disabilities. It is a very accessible way of working, as it doesn’t rely on the spoken word – it’s all about action.

Mind the Gap’s Artistic Director, Tim Wheeler carries on his mentor’s work and has led TO training in mainland Europe as well as Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India and USA in Forum Theatre and Rainbow of Desire.

Boal references Tim in his book called Legislative Theatre, which experiments using theatre techniques to affect social change.