Theatre For Social Change: Active Techniques For Reflection And Discussion

  • Mimsi Janis George Mason University


Location: JC Room F

Theatre for social change games are designed to create community and engage that community in dialogue. The techniques used come from Augusto Boal who designed his methodology for all citizens, not just actors. He said, "We are all actors. Being a citizen does not mean living in the world, it is changing it." This workshop offers participants an introduction to the games and theory behind Theatre of the Oppressed, a form of theater for social change created by Augusto Boal. The techniques are used by artists, activists, and drama therapists. We explore how theatre can be used as a tool to identify, discuss, and resist oppression. We spend time playing TO games, practicing Image Theatre, and discussing how these games can be utilized for any discussion or curriculum. Theater of the Oppressed can be used by anyone, at any level, wishing to dig deeper into the factors affecting community. It is often used by activists and community organizers. Augusto Boal also used it in law making when he was a representative in the National Congress of Brazil (all 14 of the bills created using his techniques passed). The games are an excellent way to engage students in whole body learning, imagination, and discussions. After each game is played participants are asked to reflect and think critically about their personal experience of the game, and how that experience reflects larger structures in society. Boal believed that imagination was a muscle, the games are designed to train that muscle -- because if we can't imagine a different way of doing things, how will we build new ways of being/change the future.

Author Biography

Mimsi Janis, George Mason University

Mimsi Janis an actor, writer and educator. She first began doing Theatre of the Oppressed while perusing her MFA in Acting. Since then, she has participated in and led workshops with people from all over the world, ranging from children to adults. As an actor she has worked with Studio Theatre, Signature Theatre, Washington Stage Guild and many others in the DC area. Mimsi holds an MFA in Acting from Catholic University in DC and a M.Ed from George Mason University.

1:00pm-1:40pm Mini-Workshops, Panels, & Roundtables