Forum Theatre is a technique by Brazilian Augusto Boal, which has inspired Acting Now´s philosophy and methodology.
A Forum Theatre is a fully interactive performance followed by a safe group dynamic in which the people in the audience have the chance to get up on stage and solve some of the problems the characters face. The show triggers a frank discussion with particular emphasis on the emotions involved on both sides of a dilemma.
In the first instance, the actors dramatise the short play, which usually incorporates some kind of oppression. The play is then performed for a second time and, during the replay, any member of the audience is invited to shout “Stop!” when they want to suggest a solution to a specific conflict. Rather than simply offering suggestions from the sidelines, they will need to come up on stage to play it out for themselves. The ultimate aim of this performance is to trigger discussion and prompt the audience to analyse and to discuss the issues affecting the characters and their community.
As part of our work with schools and young people, we have developed a range of Forum Theatres for educational purposes around the topics of Bullying and Cyber-bullying; Internet Safety and Social Networks; Smoking, Drugs and Alcohol; Sexual Health and Teenage Pregnancy.
It is also one of the techniques we explore in detail in our Theatre of the Opressed training workshops.
Our most recent Forum Theatre Play is ‘Beyond Borders and Boundaries’, which was performed during Refugee Week in 2016 at the Museum of Cambridge. The project aimed to raise awareness of the refugee crisis and was implemented in partnership with Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum. The project received funding from the first Cambridge Soup event organised by Allia and supported by Future Business Centre Cambridge and Cambridge City Council.