Pace University, New York City

(TOPLAB workshops Saturday, June 8 from 10:00 am to 11:50 am, and 12:00 noon to 1:40 pm)
Left Forum info at

TOPLAB workshop info at:

"We must emphasize: What Brecht does not want is that the spectators continue to leave their brains with their hats upon entering the theater, as do bourgeois spectators." –Augusto Boal
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point is to change it." –Karl Marx
The Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB) is pleased to return to the Left Forum, one of North America's most vital and preeminent annual gatherings of radical left organizers, activists, academics, movers and shakers.
This year, the Left Forum will take place from Friday, June 7 through Sunday, June 9, 2013 at Pace University, near City Hall in lower Manhattan.
TOPLAB will present two back-to-back workshops/discussions. They will be presented in such a way that attendees can participate in either one or both.
The workshops/discussions will happen on Saturday, June 8.
The first workshop will take place during Left Forum Session 1 from 10:00 am to 11:50 am. The second will take place during Session 2, from 12:00 noon to 1:40 pm.
Both workshops will be held in room E309.
If you plan to attend you might like to have a copy of an advance reading sent to you by email. This reading will enhance your workshop experience. Please write to us at or to request a copy.

Here is the description of the workshop:
TOPLAB facilitators Janet Gerson, Elia Gurna and Marie-Claire Picher, along with our friend and comrade, Reg Flowers, founder and director of Falconworks Artists Group, will lead a panel discussion and workshop entitled "Theater of the Oppressed for Self-Organizing and
Building Community".

The abstract: Theater of the Oppressed (TO) is a methodology and set of techniques that has its origins in the popular education movement that developed in Brazil during the 1950s and 1960s. It was founded by the late Augusto Boal (1931-2009) in the early 1970s and since then has been used around the world by activists and organizers fighting against oppression in all its forms as a tool to help mobilize communities in struggle. In the United States context, TO has been successfully applied in immigrant rights organizing, in anti-racism education, in community leadership training, and in many other projects and endeavors that are striving for social justice and radical change. Since 2011, people involved in Occupy Wall Street have collaborated with the Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB) to apply TO techniques within that project and some of its more recent spin-offs; this collaboration is ongoing. In this panel, the presenters–all long-time TO practitioners–will talk about how they and the communities and constituencies with whom they work apply TO techniques to build solidarity, a sense of community, and a greater level of engagement with people who are actively working for social transformation.

Reg Flowers, artist, community organizer, involved with numerous groups in Red Hook and is the founder and director of Falconworks Artists Group. Works with Communities United for Police Reform and Occupy Wall Street. Post-Hurricane Sandy, worked with community leaders, residents, and city officials on recovery efforts. Was key facilitator for meetings of community members and allies. Graduate (BFA), University of the Arts, and Yale School of Drama (MFA). He resides in Brooklyn with his husband, Chris Hammett.
Janet Gerson has been a TOPLAB facilitator since 1996. She studied with Augusto Boal and Marie-Claire Picher. As Education Director, International Institute on Peace Education, she has worked in
Colombia, El Salvador, India, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Greece, Hungary, and Spain. She was Co-Director of the Peace Education Center, Teachers College, 2001-10 and Director, Dance Stream, a
community-based organization in Upper Manhattan, 1988-98. Her current writing is focused on public deliberation on global (in)justice and the World Tribunal on Iraq.
Elia Gurna is an artist who uses Theater of the Oppressed in her work as a teaching artist and youth worker and is a facilitator with the Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB). In July she will take on the position of Executive Director at New Urban Arts, a nationally-recognized community arts studio for high school students and emerging artists in Providence, Rhode Island.
Marie-Claire Picher is a co-founder (1990) of the Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB) and has worked and collaborated closely with Augusto Boal until his death in 2009. One of the most experienced Theater of the Oppressed practitioners in North America, she has presented thousands of hours of TO facilitation training in New York and throughout the United States, as well as in Chiapas, Tabasco, Mexico City, Guatemala and Cuba.

For more information, or to register for the Left Forum, go to
To see TOPLAB's Left Forum page, go to

"I believe that all the truly revolutionary theatrical groups should transfer to the people the means of production in the theater so that the people themselves may utilize them. The theater is a weapon, and it is the people who should wield it." –Augusto Boal

Other Upcoming TOPLAB Workshops and Events

All events take place at:
The Brecht Forum
451 West Street (West Side Highway, at Bank Street, one block north of West Eleventh Street)
New York City

Saturday, June 15 and Sunday, June 16
Rainbow of Desire
facilitated by Marie-Claire Picher
info at

Friday, July 5, Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7
Looking at the Politics of the Theater of the Oppressed through Forum Theater
facilitated by Julian Boal and Marie-Claire Picher
info at

Friday, July 5 (evening)
Marxism and the Theater of the Oppressed
a lecture by Julian Boal
details to come