Participatory ethics through participatory theatre
Performing ethics: Using participatory theatre to explore ethical issues in CBPR (Community Based Participatory Research)
24 page booklet that outlines the nature of Forum Theatre and exercises and games for use in a workshop on ethics in community-based participatory research
Using participatory theatre to explore ethical issues in community-based participatory research.
The project was initiated and coordinated by Sarah Banks, Centre for Social Justice and Community Action, Durham University, working with Frances Rifkin, Utopia Arts, a long-established theatre practitioner in the Boal tradition.
The exercises written up here draw on Frances’s work with Augusto Boal, Brazilian theatre director, and her many years of work in Theatre of the Oppressed.
An 8-minute film produced by the Centre for Social Justice and Community Action, Durham University, UK and LGBT Youth NW, Manchester, about communities and universities working together to develop ethical research to accompany the booklet, Performing ethics.
These materials were developed from a series of workshops involving community and university-based researchers, young people and a theatre practitioner during 2013-14.
They form part of a set of materials developed as a result of two projects on ethics in community-based participatory research (CBPR) funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK through the Connected Communities research programme.
Other materials include
We also owe a huge debt of gratitude to Lois Perry, Manchester-based documentary film-maker, who filmed one of our workshops and made a short film to accompany these materials.
Performing Ethics 101
Theatre of the Oppressed focuses on using theatre in social and political contexts as a tool for promoting education and social change, drawing on both personal and group perspectives. For Boal, the term “oppressed” embodied the notion of resistance, rather than passivity or victimhood.
Forum Theatre involves performance of a scenario showing “an oppression” - a problematic or unjust use of power that is experienced as a difficulty or obstruction. The scenario focuses on a particular situation relevant to the group that allows the possibility to deal with, and reflect on, difficult problems. The actors may be professionals or, as is described here, participants in a workshop: people who are themselves familiar with the kinds of events and relationships depicted in the scene. Theatre makes “an image of reality”, in what Boal designates “the aesthetic space”. This allows groups to work freely and safely with “the reality of the image” and to extrapolate their learning back into reality.