The Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB)  presents
To Occupy: Forum Theater in Movement Building and Creating Community
facilitated by Julian Boal and Marie-Claire Picher
Thursday, June 28 through Sunday, July 1, 2012

at  the Brecht Forum
451 West Street (West Side Highway, at Bank Street, one block north of West Eleventh Street) New York City

Looking at the Occupy movement that captured the collective imagination last year, this extended workshop will examine the many ways Forum Theater can be used in our political and organizing work to help build a lasting social movement and create open, inclusive, democratic and egalitarian communities.

The games and exercises we will emphasize are particularly useful and appropriate for people who are engaged in radical social action projects, and the four days of training sessions are designed to enhance activists' skills in mobilizing people and working toward building strong and effective social movements. Techniques that focus on group dynamics and interactions will be emphasized.

An innovative approach to public forums and dialogue that can lead to radical social action, Forum Theater is rooted in the Brazilian popular education and culture movements of the 1950s and 1960s. It is
one of the forms in the Theater of the Oppressed repertory developed by Brazilian director, popular educator and political activist Augusto Boal (1931-2009). Boal's interactive approach to theatrical expression emphasizes physical dialogues, non-verbal imagery, consensus-building and problem-solving processes, and techniques for developing awareness of both external and internalized forms of oppression.

This workshop will look at the larger class structure that exists in capitalist society and the systemic causes of exploitation and oppression which are related to class, and try to understand how people and communities internalize the ideology of capital–and how they can take the first steps to creating self-organized caring communities as alternatives to the dominant system.

Workshop schedule:

Wednesday, June 27 (7:30 pm): Discussion of dialectics, the process of social change and the role of Theater of the Oppressed; open to the general public, free for all workshop members

Thursday, June 28 (12:00 noon to  6:00 pm): workshop day 1

Thursday, June 28 (7:30 to 10:00 pm): Forum Theater performance presented by Falconworks Artists Group, a collaborating partner with TOPLAB, based in Red Hook, Brooklyn

Friday, June 29 (10:00 am to 6:00 pm): workshop day 2

Saturday, June 30 (10:00 am to 5:00 pm): workshop day 3

Saturday, June 30 (7:30 to 10:00 pm): performance of Forum Theater pieces created by workshop members, presented to the public.

Sunday, July 1 (10:00 am to 4:00 pm): workshop day 4; enhancing techniques, final assessment, closing

Julian Boal is based in Paris and Rio de Janeiro and is an international practitioner of Theater of the Oppressed. He is a founder of Groupe du Théâtre de l'Opprimé and author of Images of a Popular Theatre.

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.

Tuition–sliding scale: $225-$325

Register online: