Fri 3 May 2024: 10:00AM
Active Inquiry

The Joker in Forum Theatre Workshop with Julian Boal

Venue: Norton Park Conference Centre, 57 Albion Road, Edinburgh, EH7 5QY
Prices: £140 – £200

This practical theatre workshop welcomes everyone from beginners to longtime facilitators to explore the role of the Joker in framing and facilitating the question we want to ask in Forum Theatre.

Far too many times we see Forum Theatre that individualises problems that arise instead from the very structures of our societies. That individualisation leads to at least two problems. First, it suggests that oppressions arise from the free will or personal perspectives of evil doers. But of course oppression does not work that way; a white man during apartheid, for example, benefited from racism regardless of whether or not that person held consciously racist personal opinions. Second, to individualise problems implies that it is the responsibility of single individuals to fight back against oppressions that are larger in scope than the individuals themselves. For example, to stress what a specific woman can do at the very moment she is under the threat of being beaten up by her husband reinforces the dangerous idea that she is personally responsible for that violence–or for stopping it herself.

This workshop–through games, exercises, and techniques–will focus on finding ways to portray oppressive systems rather than just staging people with so-called “bad” behaviour. They will also focus on the role of the Joker. The way we frame the question to the audience in the play cannot be absolutely separated from the way we facilitate the answers the audience will give. How to be both respectful and keep the conversation under the perspective of the oppressed people? How not to give up on despair neither promote false hopes?

Fri 3 – Sun 5 May 2024, 10am – 5pm

Julian Boal, son of the founder of the Theatre of the Oppressed Augusto Boal, is a founding member of Ambata, GTO-Paris (Theatre of the Oppressed Group–Paris), and Féminisme Enjeux. He has run workshops and projects in more than 20 countries, and he helped in the development of TO festivals in India with Jana Sanskriti, in Europe with Pa’tothom, and in South America with CTO-Rio. Julian is the author of Images of a Popular Theatre (Imagens de um Teatro Popular, Hucitec, 2000), co-editor of Theatre of the Oppressed in Actions (Routledge, 2015) and The Routledge Companion to Theatre of the Oppressed (Routledge, 2019), and has recently completed a PhD in Brazil.

For further information, please contact, call 07714 321629 or visit

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