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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Theatre in Praxis : situating Boal, grassroots democracy and transnational connections Johnston, Caleb Fraser


This research documents the adaptation of Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed in Vancouver and Ahmedabad to explore the intersection between geography, grassroots democracy and the role of cultural practices in opening up spaces for active citizenship. I begin by reflecting on the complexity of local and transnational collaboration between individuals and organizations dedicated to radical democratic praxis. The complex relationship between theatre activists and people living the issues is used as a provocation for academics to simultaneously reflect upon the politics of participatory research, as well as imagine, rehearse and implement more collaborative forms of knowledge production. This research then considers the ability of forum theatre to disrupt existing hierarchies by producing a critical public sphere in which individuals can engage in an intimate dialogue to challenge dominant social scripts and devise concrete political options. As a cultural practice that has travelled transnationally, I contextualize the ways that forum theatre lives intensely in the historical moment and moves through specific relationships and networks that are situated in time and space.

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