Badal Sircar's Street Theater Techniques: A Three-day Workshop on How to Create and Present Performances for Social Change at Marches, Rallies, Demonstrations and Other Outdoor Events

facilitated by Sr. Clare Marie Therese, ICM

Friday, October 5, 2012 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm;
Saturday, October 6 from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm; and
Sunday, October 7 from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm
at the Brecht Forum – 451 West Street (West Side Highway at Bank Street, one block north of West Eleventh Street) New York City

Tuition–sliding scale: $95-$150

Reserve online at

Street Theater, as conceived and presented in India, is a theater form that was evolved by Badal Sircar (1925-2011), one of the greatest playwrights of all times. Badal Sircar, originally from Calcutta,
began his working life as a town planner and civil engineer, and early on was captivated by the theater and its possibilities and soon moved into a successful career in conventional, proscenium theater. Later, he left the formal stage behind and moved on to what he called "Free Theater", a theatrical form and practice differing from conventional, indoor theater by its flexibility and portability and its very inexpensive production costs.

Street theater is a powerful means of communication, especially among rural people and  communities–a tool to enable them to develop social awareness and strengthen their processes of political analysis, allowing them–in Paulo Freire's terms–to move from "naïve and false consciousness" to critical consciousness–a process that will help provide hope, strength and organizational sophistication to carry on their daily struggles against the varied forms of oppressions they face in their daily lives. As Badal Sircar put it, "*Content* of the play is primary and the *form needs to be shaped* by the content….Street theater workshops must be designed in such a way that they empower the participants, psychologically, politically and as theater practitioners."

Rather than relying primarily on language, verbal script and the spoken word, Sircar’s form of street theater is a multidimensional action and experience, expressed through sound, movement and body
energy–as well as presentation through speaking. Sircar’s workshops are fabulous treasure-houses, not only for play-making but also for value clarification, communication, developing group cohesion and consensus building, and fostering social and community leadership from among the most socially-marginalized sectors of the population.

This Street Theater workshop will start off with a series of games and exercises, followed by group reflection and processing designed to move the participants into a "state of being", rather than remaining mere "enactors" of a play. In Sircar's conception, participants–actors, and those who watch the actors and would become actors themselves, sharing in the dramatic action and moving it
forward–would move from a minimal state of self-awareness and incomplete social analysis to players who are critically conscious of their conditions and are their own subjects in the process of radical social transformation.

Note: Dalit Street Theater in India: From Social Oppression to Radical Action 10/4/2012 NYC

a talk by Sr. Clare Marie Therese, ICM

Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 7:30 pm

This talk is open to the general public and is free for people participating in this workshop. Admission–sliding scale: $6/$10/$15

Sr. Clare Marie Therese, ICM, was born in India and lives in Tamil Nadu, where she works extensively with women from oppressed minority groups, especially in Dalit and indigenous “tribal” communities. She holds a degree in sociology from Annamalai University and is a member of the Tamil Nadu Women's Coordination Forum. She has been a member of fact-finding teams and investigative committees examining atrocities committed against Dalits, Muslim women and fisherfolk. A protege of Badal Sircar, she worked closely with him until his death last year, and he said of her that she "has creatively taken his theater to areas he never dreamed of!" Clare Marie has facilitated more than 300 street theater workshops in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka, as well as in other
states in India, working with impoverished, exploited and oppressed populations such as Dalit and tribal groups, street children and child laborers, tea plantation workers, Muslim women, and Sri Lankan repatriates in India, among many others. A facilitator and practitioner of Theater of the Oppressed, she has led numerous workshops throughout India and Sri Lanka. Clare Marie is also a
Playback Theater presenter who was professionally trained and has many years' experience using that technique. In addition to her work in street theater and Playback Theater, Clare Marie is also a
professional practitioner of holistic and alternative healing therapies and is certified in acupressure and in Bach Flower Remedy consultation.