Forum theater

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Augusto Boal

The forum theater is the central method in the theater of the oppressed that Augusto Boal ( Rio de Janeiro ) developed. It is a form of interactive theater that aims to make theater accessible to everyone - as a means of dialogue and to change social reality.


In the forum theater a scene is presented to the audience that ends badly and unsatisfactorily. A joker encourages the audience to bring the depicted scene to a better end in dialogue .

In the forum theater, questions are raised mainly through pointed symbolic scenes. The scenes are mostly developed in open workshops from the topics and experiences of the participants. The viewers can switch to the scenes shown and replace the actors who play the weak, discriminated or disadvantaged. These so-called interventions are about the answers to these question examples: What would I do in the presented, played situation? How can we change the scenes for the better through our ideas and our actions?

With the forum theater every problem can be solved by the community of those involved

  • be expressed by them and brought into the picture,
  • be brought into a symbolic political context by themselves through the game and
  • can be changed by the response of the audience.


The pedagogical basis for the forum theater is provided by liberation pedagogy or the pedagogy of the oppressed according to Paulo Freire . The Brazilian Augusto Boal developed forum theater in the 1950s and 1960s, during the military dictatorship. The pieces were very political at the beginning and ended with clear instructions. An impressive experience with a farm worker in the audience who called on him to fight himself - which he didn't want - encouraged him to ask questions instead of giving answers. Since then, the forum theater has continued to develop. In a further experience with a female spectator in 1973, he lifted the separation between artist and audience, the first intervention was born, in which the audience not only expresses ideas, but also comes on stage and plays them out.

Boal described the forum theater in 1989 in Theater of the Oppressed .

The method is used today in more than 80 countries worldwide in educational work and in social public dialogue. Their application is not subject to any legal regulations and may and should change constantly due to the various fields of action and actors.

Further developments

The Legislative Theater emerged from the Forum Theater during Augusto Boal's time as a city councilor . Another further development of the forum theater is topic-oriented improvisation (TOI).

David Diamond brought theater to life in Canada . This assumes that everyone is sometimes an oppressor and sometimes an oppressed person. So it is not about fighting oppressors, but about changing our actions that cause oppression. The theater for life thus enables a systemic view of conflicts. In practice this means, for example, that in the forum theater or the rainbow of wishes, not only the wishes, fears and motives of the oppressed are explored, but also those of the oppressive. In the forum theater, antagonists can also be replaced by the audience, not just protagonists.

The Berlin forum theater maker Harald Hahn is active in Germany, among other things with the Kieztheater: It interferes with the means of the theater in the Kreuzberg city ​​life.


  • Jens Clausen, Harald Hahn, Markus Runge (eds.): The Kieztheater. Forum and communication for the district. Ibidem, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-89821-985-3 .
  • David Diamond: Theater to Life: On the Art and Science of Dialogue in Communities. Stuttgart 2013.
  • Augusto Boal: Theater of the Oppressed. Frankfurt a. M. 1989.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Augusto Boal: Theater of the Oppressed . Frankfurt am Main 1989.
  2. David Diamond: Theater for Life: On the Art and Science of Dialogue in Communities . Ibidem, Stuttgart 2013, ISBN 978-3-8382-0255-6 , pp. 57 .
  3. Kieztheater.