Welcome to the 2019 Pedagogy & Theatre of the Oppressed Conference Schedule!
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Friday, June 14 • 3:15pm - 4:45pm
Reports from the Field - Theatre of the Oppressed in Practice LIMITED

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Title #1: Demechanization and Intercultural Dialogue 
Presenter: Elliot Leffler
Program Description:  Based on an ethnographic study at an international summer camp, this paper examines theatre games and exercises and their capacity to foster intercultural dialogue.   
Abstract:  Augusto Boal’s games and exercises, which are used broadly in many Applied Theatre programs, are designed to “demechanize” the body and its senses – to break our habits of movement by getting players moving and experiencing the world (and each other) in new and unusual ways.  Physical theatre exercises, such as Viewpoints or clowning work, are similarly used in participatory programs to mobilize people's bodies.  Boal writes about the power of this engagement to liberate our bodies from the routinized patterns of behavior and mind instilled in our capitalist, colonialist world – but less is written about the power of these games to bring people together across cultural differences.  In this paper, I examine the intercultural implications of this kinesthetic play.  I do so by examining the interactions of participants in a theatre program I facilitated at an international peace camp.  The teenage participants included a large and culturally-diverse group of Americans, a large and culturally-diverse group of Iraqis, and smaller groups from Saudi Arabia, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Israel, Germany, and Nigeria.  I argue that as participants engage in this intense physical play, they experience themselves and one another as incorporeal – a term Erin Manning employs to describe a state of constant metamorphosis.  These incorporeal players become less self-conscious and more enmeshed in a collective feeling of ensemble.  They establish a sense of what I call creative intimacy.  This has the potential to lay the groundwork for rich intercultural dialogue, though it also can absorb a group in such a delightful utopic feeling that participants become reluctant to engage in any dialogue that might threaten this new status quo.  

Challenging Questions
1. When have you witnessed this kind of creative intimacy empowering a group to conduct rich intercultural dialogue, and when have you witnessed it constraining a group’s intercultural dialogue?
2. What factors seem to determine whether creative intimacy is ultimately limiting or empowering for intercultural groups?
3. How can jokers successfully move a group toward greater risk-taking when they are reluctant? 

Title #2: End Stigma/End HIV-AIDS: A Forum Theatre  Intervention
Presenter: Robert Huesca
Program Description:  This proposal reports the findings from a three-year activist research project using Forum Theatre to combat stigma surrounding HIV-AIDS testing and treatment in San Antonio, Texas.
Abstract:  Findings from this research contribute to both the literature on Forum Theatre and participatory communication for social change. First, this study demonstrates the utility of systematic interviewing in crafting the Forum Theatre performances. Previous research calls for the participation of affected populations in the crafting of performances, but fails to provide much guidance on how this might be done systematically. Second, the performances affirmed the value of participatory communication in theatre as audiences developed multiple, creative interventions to confront stigma at the individual, institutional, and community levels.

Challenging Questions
1. Can systematic interviewing enhance the development of theatrical narratives?
2. What strategies and techniques are suitable for moving from data collection to theatrical production?
3. How do we respond to the reproduction of oppression by “spect-actors?” 


Robert Huesca

Professor, Trinity University
I am a Professor of Communication with a research history in participatory communication for social change. My work with Theatre of the Oppressed is in the form of a summer 2018 collaboration with 3 students, 2 community members, and two professors, one of whom has a lengthy history... Read More →

Elliot Leffler

Assistant of Theatre and Performance Studies Professor, University of Toronto
Elliot Leffler is a scholar, director, performer, and facilitator of applied theatre projects. In his research and in the creative projects he leads, Elliot primarily explores how theatre can be used as a catalyst for intercultural and interfaith dialogue. He has led theatre projects... Read More →

Friday June 14, 2019 3:15pm - 4:45pm MDT
ASG Meeting Room 202 (Upper Level) 2200 Bonforte Blvd, Pueblo, CO 81001, USA