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Forum Theatre Skills & Concept Demonstration

This video footage documents a Theatre of the Oppressed work session at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Community Involvement Conference (CIC), Buffalo NY, July 2005. Participants include EPA community Involvement personnel from various agency regions, representatives of community based environmental justice organizations, and public health practitioners.

The first segment of the video demonstrates the use of Augusto Boal’s Image Theatre techniques to create short scenes representing how environmental justice issues impact real life. The featured technique of sandwiching immediate past and near future images around a core conflict image provides a shorthand method for scene construction.

The second segment shows a scene in progress, and then demonstrates how a spect-actor enters the scene from the audience to replace the protagonist and change the outcome. Boal’s concept of the spect-actor is the crucial interactive linkage between stage action and the audience, and the primary source of public dialogue on action-based alternatives that address environmental justice issues represented in Forum scenes.

Additional materials related to this CIC workshop may be accessed at
www.epancic.org/2005/proceedings (scroll down to Thursday, July 14th / 1:20 PM sessions: “Environmental Forum Theater: Drama-Based Action Strategies for Community-Building, Issue Clarification and Conflict Mediation.”) Further information on the work and significance of Augusto Boal may be found at Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed or Theatre of the Oppressed.

Articles describing Community Environmental Forum Theatre may be found at: El Teatro Lucha de Salud del Barrio: Theater and Environmental Health in Texas and Behind the Fence: Forum Theatre on Lupus, Lead Poisoning & Environmental Justice (Behind the Fence). A pdf of the article, “The Forum Theatre of Augusto Boal: A Dramatic Model for Dialogue and Community-Based Environmental Science (Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability. Vol. 11, #6. (December 2006) is included at The Forum Theatre of Augusto Boal: A Dramatic Model for Dialogue and Community-Based Environmental Science - Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability.

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