Augusto Boal (1931-2009)

augusto-boalForum Theatre, Image Theatre, Invisible Theatre and Legislative Theatre along with others form a tree of theatre forms known as Theatre of the Oppressed.  All were created by Brazilian theatre theorist, writer and director Augusto Boal who passed away Saturday at the age of 78.

Boal is best-known for creating theatre techniques that allowed and encouraged rebellion and change to come from the oppressed groups themselves after he realized that didactic politically-motivated theatre was limited in how it could help those in the poor areas where he worked.

His teachings caught the attention of Brazil’s military dictatorship and they arrested and tortured Boal, eventually exiling him to Argentina where he wrote and published his first book, Theatre of the Oppressed, in 1973.  For the next twelve years, he went around Europe teaching and establishing Theatres of the Oppressed.

When the dictatorship fell, he returned to Rio de Janeiro and established a major Center for the Theater of the Oppressed (CTO Rio).  He also held public office as a city councilor for one term (1993-1997) where he created Legislative Theatre.

Boal has inspired people around the world, both theatre artists and not.  He also inspired us here at OTL in our own application of his techniques.  Augusto Boal leaves behind a legacy of empowerment and a new, revolutionary way of looking at theatre and what it can do to help those who need it most.

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