Augusto Boal is credited with saying: “Theatre is a rehearsal for the revolution”. With The Seed, a creative arts organization in Rotterdam, I created the Theatre School on Resistance, a 14-week participatory theatre research project, to explore issues around belonging, citizenship, racism, and resistance with young people in Rotterdam for my PhD research. In the Theatre School on Resistance, we use theatre to tap into the embodied knowledge of second-generation youth. Specifically, this participatory theatre project examines the strategies and practices of resistance to racism and Islamophobia of second-generation Black and Muslim youth in the Netherlands.
The Theatre School on Resistance is grounded in the popular education models of Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) and Pedagogy of the Oppressed (PO) which emerged out of the liberation movements of the fifties and sixties in Brazil. The Theatre School of Resistance Manual for Educators (updated May 2019) is an eight-week program based on my experience with the Theatre School on Resistance. I designed this manual as a guide for educators to host their own Theatre School. Both Augusto Boal, the creator of TO, and Paulo Freire, who developed PO, grounded their education models in the lived experiences of participants with the objective of learning about and changing unjust social realities. These techniques have since been adapted and used as an alternative to mainstream education models by people around the world. Feel free to adapt and play with this manual however you see fit.
This video is a synopsis of our final show. The final performance showcased three scenarios of oppression inspired by stories participants had shared during the Theatre School. Using Forum Theatre, the audience was invited to “rehearse resistance” with the cast by giving suggestions for what could be done differently so as to improve the outcome of the scene. In some cases, they came up on stage themselves to try out their ideas.
For the last four years, I have been researching the experiences of second-generation Black and Muslim Dutch youth as part of my PhD on belonging, citizenship, and practices of resistance. In my work as a facilitator and community developer, I have always enjoyed using theatre and other creative, embodied art forms.