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► Venue ◄

Located in a former furniture-shop-turned-theater, the Theater of the Oppressed organizes training courses and workshops, artistic research labs, rehearsals, and creations.

Since 1998, the company, lead by Rui Frati has continued to develop their own work, while also hosting and co-producing with other theatre, dance, and music companies. 

The company’s programming promotes contemporary drama and newly emerging troupes, while remaining focused on established directors and texts, as well as theater for young audiences.

Each season of the year is marked by a special event:

  • September/October: Spotlight on New Works (Pleins Feux sur la jeune création)
  • January: Blank Slate (Carte Blanche) – One new collective of artists is welcomed each year to present performances, lectures, etc. of their choosing
  • June/July: MigrActions – Collaborative festival between the entire company and visiting artists, aiming to foster interaction between the arts and people of all generations


The Theater of the Oppressed


“To be a citizen is not to live in society, but to change it!”

Augusto Boal, director & creator of the Theater of the Oppressed

► Method ◄

The methods of the Theatre of the Oppressed were developed by Augusto Boal in Latin America in the 1970’s. His goal was to draw visibility to social and political conflicts by giving a voice to marginalized groups who were facing oppression under totalitarian regimes of the time. Boal’s method is composed by six techniques including: Forum Theater, Image Theater, Rainbow of Desire, Invisible Theater, Journal Theater and Legislative Theater.

The main technique used is called « forum-theater »: focusing on a current issue, the company of actors creates and performs a scene with a negative outcome.

The audience, through prompting from the director, is then invited to reflect on how best to resolve the onstage conflict. Audience members become « spectActors » and join the scene through confrontation and interaction with the other characters, thereby inspiring new ideas, alternatives, and a willingness to change the situation.

By working together, the actors and audience find new solutions for the conflicts portrayed on stage. 


► Company ◄

Each year, the stage professionals, eager to uphold their place as both artists and citizens, create and present a play of a contemporary author. They focus specially on performances combining theater and music.

Other projects include « forum-theaters », workshops, and training courses in different environments: prisons, schools and universities, community centers, local authorities, businesses, etc. These interventions allow the company to build and retain a new audience by making theatre more accessible for more people. 

Though it is based primarily in France, the company has also travelled to countries including Italy, Brazil, Palestine, Burundi, Iran, Taiwan, Morocco, Romania, Portugal, Chile, Mexico, Spain, England and Germany for both performances and workshops.


“To approach social and human conflicts through theater… to prompt a discussion, to think and understand together on stage, that is our commitment!”

Rui Frati, Artistic Director of Theater of the Oppressed


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Why The Theater of the Oppressed?

  • Established in Paris in 1979 by Augusto Boal (creator of the method) himself
  • Currently led by Rui Frati, the company has more than 40 years of international experience
  • First group in the world created especially to work with the theater of the oppressed method
  • We have taught Boal’s method to the majority of the other actors who perform forum-theater in France or in Europe
  • Our troupe is comprised of professional actors with many years of experience, not amateurs or students
  • Our professional actors are paid according to the law (French collective convention)
  • Our actors are experts in forum theater, as well as all techniques of Augusto Boal’s method
  • In our work, we have encountered nearly every type of social and political issue (and in all environments: work, family, friends, school, university, associations…). 
  • We have worked with diverse audiences, ages 8 to 99
  • We have worked for years with all types of organizations: nursery schools, primary schools, middle schools, high schools, universities, associations, businesses, hospitals, prisons, community centers, cultural centers, city councils, festivals…
  • We customize our shows (at no additional cost) to fit the specific needs of each social project/organization
  • We create as many forum-theater performances as we do contemporary theater productions
  • We have our own space which allows us to remain permanently visible and accessible. We host a variety of performances and workshops, through which people and organizations who wish to learn about and/or develop projects with us have the opportunity to easily meet us



Forum-Theater is the main theatrical technique used by the company of the Theater of the Oppressed.

Created by Augusto Boal during his time in Brazil, as well as during his time in exile in Europe and particularly in France,‘forum-theater’ is based on two beliefs:

  • The belief that theater can and should be a tool to change the world
  • The belief that to be human is to possess the language of theater

The role of the director in the scene, or “joker”

Fundamental as the facilitator of interactions between the audience and the stage, the director or “joker” encourages debate with the audience and coordinates the audience interventions into the scene and the reactions of the actors. During the show, he/she guides the discussion as far as possible, and helps the audience to develop their points of view and clarify their intentions.

★ An example of an intervention in a ‘forum-theater’ setting on the theme of “violence against women”. 

Documentary by Martin Veber: Three Blows Against Domestic Violence (French) 


 Download the mission statement of the Theatre of the Oppressed 

Forum-theatre is a form of interactive theatre which allows debate to emerge through the lens of theatrical play.

Initially, the actors perform several short scenes which reflect situations in daily life that are conflicted or obstructed in some way.

The scenes are then performed again, as many times as necessary, as members of the audience replace an onstage character (or create a new character) in order to achieve a more satisfactory outcome.

In facing the actors and confronting the initial scene, the spect-Actor must attempt to create new alternatives for the difficult situations at hand.

The scene is placed under the responsibility of the audience. This avoids the imposition of a message or attempts to find a ‘right’ answer. Instead, by experimenting together onstage, solutions become possible.

► Duration

One Forum-Theater session lasts from one and a half to two hours. Fifteen minutes for the presentation of the prepared scenes, and between one hour and fifteen minutes to one hour and 45 minutes for debate and theatrical exchange.

► Scenic Space

Forum-Theater can be played in any type of room. The room should have good acoustics, otherwise the performers will require microphones and amplification equipment. There is no need for special lighting.

► Scenery/Props

No specific set is necessary for a forum theater performance, as long as the audience is able to project themselves into the space. The actors only require table and chairs, and two or three props depending on the sketch.

Some examples* of topics (non-exhaustive list) :

Being a citizen, citizen-government relations, public services, social insecurity, integration of foreigners, treatment of undocumented immigrants, social housing neighborhoods, neighborhood relations, gender equality, homophobia, secularism, discrimination (in the city, at work, etc.), racism, discriminatory behavior, justice, crime, family and domestic violence, sexual violence, violence against women, violence in the workplace, workplace conflicts, violence and antisocial behavior, parenting, school life, school violence, education, role of parents in education, internet addiction, youth issues, child protection, living together, suffering at work, burn-out, suicide prevention, management, globalization, north-south relations, sustainable development, public transportation, recycling, energy, health, bad nutrition habits, sexuality, unplanned pregnancy, STDs, AIDs prevention, addiction, smoking, self-esteem, disability, living with chronic illness, elder abuse, elderly fall prevention, end-of-life care, human dignity, unemployment and job search, job interviews, personal and professional expression, climate change and global solidarity, sustainable development, harassment (school, work, home), fighting against radicalization… and many more!


*Remider: the topics of this list are only examples. The Forum-Theater is, by definition, a « made-to-measure » show. A whole new show will always be created for you, following your public’s particular needs and context.


We educate social workers, managers, students of all ages and all other members of the public in the method of the Theater of the Oppressed, so that that they become skilled in interactive theater techniques (Image-Theater, Rainbow of Desires, Invisible-Theater, Forum-Theater) in the professional world.

The distance that theater creates gives a sense of protection to the individual, allowing non-actors to express themselves with more freedom. This facilitates a better understanding of countless daily scenarios.

Using games, stories, improvisation and the scene creation, we work with participants to develop their capacity for mutual listening, concentration, imagination, reflection…

Based on the work a group does together, the workshops can end in the creation and presentation of a Forum-Theater, or simply help them reflect collectively on their specific issues and conflicts. 


► General Content of the Training Courses 

  • Exercises for group relaxation and cohesion
  • Introduction to the Image-Theater technique

Through the creation and observation of living images (statues), this technique takes away the verbal aspects of everyday life, and consequently puts distance between us and things that can impede our ability to listen and judge, making it easier to explore conflicts calmly. It uses a facilitator/helper relationship, which helps to foster a better understanding of the person involved, as well as an more objective identification of their difficulties. 

  • Introduction to the Rainbow of Desire technique

This technique aims to explore and confront emotions by placing them at a distance and examining them through a character. It promotes self-expression and clarifies situations of conflict.

  • Introduction to the Forum-Theater technique

A powerful tool for individual expression and collective reflection, this technique stages and explores conflicts theatrically through the creation of scenes presenting a real nowadays problem. It challenges individuals points of view, and allows for collective development of conflict resolution. 

  • Introduction to the Invisible-Theater technique

In some of our workshops, the ones lasting more than 35 hours, we try to teach as well the Invisible-Theater technique. Similar to the Forum-Theater, this technique challenges individuals points of view, and allows for collective development of conflict resolution through the creation of scenes presenting a real nowadays problem. This takes place outside a theatrical environment, where the « public » never realises they are among actors playing a role.


► Methods and Educational Resources

  • Theoretical concepts. Theater games and exercises. Practical workshops in small groups (image-theater, rainbow of desire).
  • Scenes of various scenarios (forum-theater).


► Practical Information

Audience: everyone. No need to have theatrical experience.

Instructors: 1 actor / director / trainer, specialized in Theater of the Oppressed techniques

Duration: from 10 – 35 hours* with the same group (at least 2 hours of work per session)

Possibility of performing a forum-theater at the end of the workshop (for workshops of at least 20 hours)

# of Participants: 12-14 maximum per group


*If you need to go further learning one or several of the techniques, it is possible to organize a longer workshop (ex: 40 hours, 70 hours …).


Above all, the troupe of The Theater of the Oppressed is a theatre company constituted by a group of skillful actors and actresses. Our troupe is not only trained to perform Forum-Theaters, but also « traditional » performances.

Each year, they create and present a play of a contemporary author (Brazilian, British, French, Palestinian, Portuguese, Spanish, Taiwanese …). They focus specially on performances combining theater and music.

Some of the plays were created to pay a tribute to an important artist (Jacques Higelin, Miguel de Cervantes, Nelson Rodrigues, Vinicius de Moraes …) or an important historical event (Brexit, Feira Paulista de Opinião …).

See the list of all of our Contemporary Plays.


 Contact us ☎


Alain Ramírez Méndez


Phone (France): +33 1 43 45 81 20