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Running with Shopping Bags

Forum
Theatre

How do we devise a "Forum Theatre" Show?

We start by connecting with community centers and social organizations interested in offering their members theatre workshops where they are a space to write and act out personal and communal experiences.  During the first workshop, communities write small pieces about oppressions they have experienced or witnessed. Our crew then selects 5 pieces and rehearses them with professional actors. During the second workshop, actors perform the pieces in front of the communities who wrote them. After the show has finished, actors perform the exact same show again but this time we ask the audience to stop the performance whenever they spot an oppression and to offer a solution to the oppression. Afterwards, the actors start the scene again and this time they improvise the scene with the solution the audience offered. The audience is also welcome to go on stage and act their solutions with the actors. Several solutions to oppressions are explored and together, audience members and actors discover which solutions can work best in oppressive situations.

How can these improvisations/forums benefit communities and individuals?

"Forum Theatre" can benefit communities and individuals in a myriad of ways. First, it works as a shared experience that helps individuals realize they are not alone in their struggles. By seeing others on stage giving solutions and helping the oppressed actor, we learn that there are others in our communities willing to help, willing to listen. Second, by listening to the oppressors' point of view we can understand where they are coming from and, while we don't excuse them for their actions, we can create empathy and forgiveness which can ultimately free us from sorrows. Third, when seeing others or ourselves improvising solutions to oppressions, we are able to act upon them and become stronger . We comprehend there are ways to defend ourselves and stop others from hurting us. 

Overall "Forum Theatre" works as a communal therapeutical catharsis where audiences can, for a slight second, break their chains of oppression and pain. And for a slight second live fully free. We believe that this experience alone, as ephemeral as it can be, can empower a human being forever.

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