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The HATS Manual -> The Methodology -> Action Theatre

Action Theatre is adapted from the Theatre of the Oppressed developed by the Brazilian theatre director Augusto Boal. Boal developed the technique during the 1950's and 1960's and it quickly grew into a movement which spread all over the world. Boal's technique, in turn, was based on the teachings of the famous popular educator Paulo Freire. Boal maintained that participatory theatre could be utilized as a powerful tool, transforming monologue into dialogue, thereby overcoming oppression. Both have been highly influential in the development of the politics of liberation.

Action Theatre as a community education model
The Action Theatre tool has proven to be effective in transforming monologue into dialogue and in moving between (conceptual) awareness of issues, and development and modeling (action) of alternative responses.

The short plays performed by the St. Chris Action Theatre Seniors Troupes, are primarily mimed, reducing the barriers of language and literacy. The audience is encouraged to change how the players have dealt with an issue in their play, and to replace a player (actor) so that the play can be performed again with different endings. People of diverse cultures, languages and literacy levels engage in the exploration of critical issues, share their knowledge and experience the power of shared problem-solving.

Action Theatre provides a way of bringing people from different language and cultural backgrounds together to discuss common issues affecting seniors' lives.

Action Theatre means to act out anti-models based in real life situations in order to:

  • identify the problems
  • think about possible solutions to those problems
  • find ways of effecting change to tackle the problems
The main objective is not to find the right solution to the problems but to engage people in critical thinking and analysis of their own realities through dialogue and conversation. 'Dialogue,' defined by Freire "is the encounter between men, mediated by the world, in order to name the world."

Please send your comments or questions about the methodology to animator@hatstheatre.org


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