Influential theatre director, writer and politician.
Trained in Chemical Engineering at Columbia University in the late 1940s
Boal returned to Brazil after his degree and worked in the Arena Theatre in Sao Palo, when his theatre career took off.
Theatre of the oppressed (1979)
Games for Actors and Non-actors (1992)
Rainbow of Desire (1995)
Boal Theatre is known as:
“ Theatre of the Oppressed.”
Oppressed – weighted down
The “Theatre of the Oppressed” transformed the work of the theatre.
So what is “Theatre of the Oppressed”?........
Boal developed the idea of “Spect-actors” not “Spectators.”
This is where audiences were invited to discuss a play at the end of the performance.
This soon developed to the audience stopping the performance half way through to suggest different actions for a character. Sometimes they even went onstage to demonstrate to the actors what they wanted them to do.
Augusto Boal was also involved in types of street theatre and invisible theatre; theatre was performed in places you would not normally expect to see shows. Boal was to bring the scène of a play that did not have to be performed in a theatre, like Bertol Brecht.
Brecht was a German theatre designer who believed that the audience should see how the inside of the theatre works. So he would remove the curtains and backing so people could see back stage. Brecht most likely inspired Boal in his work to bring the audiences and actors together.
The Effects of Theatre of the Oppressed:
At the time ` teachings were new, different and controversial.
Boal was a rebel, and regarded as a threat - because of his practices and beliefs he was arrested, tortured and exiled.
Boal also worked for some time as a politician.
Despite some people disagreeing with his theories he worked tirelessly to make his processes available to as many people as he could reach.
He hopes that there are hundreds or even thousands of people carrying out his libratory approach to community animation.
His Work Shops.........
In the 1950’s and 1960’s Boal tried to transform theatre from the “monologue” of traditional performance into a “dialogue” between the auditorium and the stage, he experimented with many different ways of doing this. His experiments were based on the assumption that dialogue is common, healthy dynamic between all humans.
Boal ran and created many different workshops which became a training ground where action on the performances where practiced but also action on life.
A good book to look at for this is “Games for actors and non-actors” and would be a good book for you all to look at. It has may interesting games to build confidence and communication, which you may have played before at high school etc.
Augusto Boal's main influences......
His major influence was Paulo Freire, they spoke at several conferences and soon became great friends. Paulo Freire was a Brazilian educator, and a highly influential theorist of education. He was the creator of 'pedagogy of the oppressed'.
Definition of pedagogy - the art or science of being a teacher.
Paulo Freire was best known for what he called the 'banking' concept of education - the student was viewed as an empty account to be filled by the teacher.
Much of Boal's early work was also inspired by a Marxist philosophy - the idea that capitalism will be displaced by communism - a classless society.
But Boal hasn't let his career be restricted by this philosophy, and much of his work and performing now falls within the boundaries of the 'centre left' ideology - which is a political term - accepting a mixed economy with a significant public sector and a thriving private sector, and tend to favour limited state intervention.
The people that Boal has influenced........ Teachers Audiences General Public Writers Set Designers Lighting Costume
Group 9’s personal opinion on Augusto Boal.... “ From what little I’ve seen of Augusto Boal’s work, I think that his main aim is to actively link the audience and cast, which I like and find that it makes the performance more lively and gives the audience a chance to participate and comment and in some cases improve the performance.” Libby Nolan “ I think at the time when Boal first created his theatre of the oppressed it must have been a huge shock to his community and the Brazilian government at the time. Nowadays however, which is somewhat down to Boal, this is normal throughout many theatre companies and dramatic societies. Personally I think that it would be very beneficial, particularly to the actors if at the end of the show the audience did give their opinion on the show and how to make it better. But I don't agree with all aspect of Boal's teaching's, I think the audience stopping a performance halfway through to give their opinion is unnecessary, and would put the actors off rather than pointing them in a new direction.” Laura Mulholland
“ I’m glad our group has looked at Augusto Boal, because he has had a big affect on theatre throughout his life. He has turned theatre around so it is not just about the actors but the audience and has taken away this barrier of ‘the stage’ and ‘the auditorium’. I know that what he has done is sure to inspire us in the future.” Kirsty Nicol