What can we do with Forum Theatre?

Convener(s): Mike Knowlden ([email protected])

Participants: Gary Horsman, Simon Bowes, Caroline Vanes, Lauren Rowley, Vanessa Smith, John Walton, Jennifer Tan, Julia Tandevia, Nicole Charles

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

We begin by admitting that we don’t know a great deal about Boal, and that few of us have seen proper Forum Theatre.

Some facilitators and practitioners arrive to help us through the ideas.

Some companies to look at

Active Enquiry (Edinburgh)

London Bubble

Cardboard Citizens (and Adrian Jackson)

Theatre Venture (East London TIC) – use of a break in the middle of proceedings

Design Against Crime (design co. looking at forum as a model in relation to design)


Interesting projects reconfiguring maker-audience relationship 

BAC – The Independents/The Wayfarers

Cultural Leadership Program


Legislative Theatre – we don’t know what this is but we think it might be interesting – is it setting up a mock parliament of sorts, of spect-actors? We enjoy dreaming about what it might be and its possibilities. These go unrecorded…


Uses of Boal’s techniques and how facilitators are engaged

Corporate use of Boal – role playing… Theatre of the oppressor

Education environments – is Forum perceived as being a stale approach?

Cardboard Citizens – homeless and asylum seekers

Julian Boal – speak about his father, saying that it is good if people build on his technique for themselves, so see his systems as fluid.

Videogames of the Oppressed – we need to search this out. Seems to be a computer interface for Forum of some sort


A modest conclusion

In the end we conclude that Forum Theatre functions as a tool that can be abstracted in some ways. It seems to be alive and well, although some perceive it to be stale. It is being practiced regularly. We talk about the importance of the setup at the start of a piece (where actors lay the foundation that spect-actors will build on) but wonder whether this has to be theatrical? Can it be a piece of writing, with writing then functioning as the medium for the forum? We think it can.