This dynamic book offers a comprehensive companion to the theory and practice of Theatre of the Oppressed. Developed by Brazilian director and theorist Augusto Boal, these theatrical forms invite people to mobilize their knowledge and rehearse struggles against oppression.

Featuring a diverse array of voices (many of them as yet unheard in the academic world), the book hosts dialogues on the following questions, among others:

  • Why and how did Theatre of the Oppressed develop?
  • What are the differences between the 1970s (when Theatre of the Oppressed began) and today?
  • How has Theatre of the Oppressed been shaped by local and global shifts of the last 40-plus years?
  • Why has Theatre of the Oppressed spread or "multiplied" across so many geographic, national, and cultural borders?
  • How has Theatre of the Oppressed been shaped by globalization, "development," and neoliberalism?
  • What are the stakes, challenges, and possibilities of Theatre of the Oppressed today?
  • How can Theatre of the Oppressed balance practical analysis of what is with ambitious insistence on what could be?
  • How can Theatre of the Oppressed hope, but concretely?

Broad in scope yet rich in detail, The Routledge Companion to Theatre of the Oppressed contains practical and critical content relevant to artists, activists, teachers, students, and researchers.

chapter |12 pages


Theatre of the Oppressed and its time(s)
ByKelly Howe, Julian Boal, José Soeiro

part I|1 pages


part |1 pages


chapter 1|7 pages

New York and After

Gassner, realism, and the “method”
ByFrances Babbage

chapter 2|11 pages

Arena Theatre, Brazil, Boal

Between farces and allegories
ByPriscila Matsunaga

chapter 3|9 pages

Augusto Boal and the Nuestra AmÉrica Theatre

ByDouglas Estevam

chapter 4|9 pages

Agitprop and Theatre of the Oppressed

ByIná Camargo Costa

chapter 5|7 pages

Epic Theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed

“Brecht and, modestly, [Boal]!”
ByJorge Louraço Figueira

chapter 6|8 pages

Paulo Freire and Augusto Boal

Praxis, poetry, and utopia
ByPaolo Vittoria

part |1 pages

Critical frames

chapter 7|9 pages

Theatre of the Oppressed as a Dialectical Game?

ByJosé Soeiro, Julian Boal

chapter 8|10 pages

Constraints and Possibilities in the Flesh

The body in Theatre of the Oppressed
ByKelly Howe

chapter 9|8 pages

Contradictions of Theatre of the Oppressed

BySérgio de Carvalho

chapter 10|10 pages

Identities, Otherness, and Emancipation in Theatre of the Oppressed

ByJulian Boal, José Soeiro

part |1 pages


chapter 11|11 pages

Capitalism and Environmental Destruction

ByMichael Löwy

chapter 12|13 pages

Racism, Colonialism, Imperialism

ByJames McMaster

chapter 13|13 pages

Patriarchy, Cisnormativity, Heteronormativity

ByKelly Howe

part |1 pages

From roots to branches

chapter 14|7 pages


Demechanization and serious fun
ByCora Fairstein, Birgit Fritz, Roberto Mazzini

chapter 15|6 pages

Newspaper Theatre

The oldest branch of TO in the post-print present
BySabrina Speranza

chapter 16|6 pages

Image Theatre

A liberatory practice for “making thought visible”
ByAlexander Santiago-Jirau, S. Leigh Thompson

chapter 17|6 pages

Invisible Theatre

From origins to current uses
ByRafael Villas Bôas

chapter 18|12 pages

Forum Theatre

A dramaturgy of collective questioning
ByInês Barbosa, Vanesa Camarda, Paul Dwyer

chapter 19|7 pages

The Rainbow of Desire

Boal and doubt
ByAdrian Jackson

chapter 20|8 pages

Legislative Theatre

Can theatre reinvent politics?
ByJosé Soeiro

chapter 21|6 pages

Aesthetics of the Oppressed

Self-criticism and re-foundation of Theatre of the Oppressed
ByBárbara Santos

part II|1 pages

Ground shifts

part |1 pages

Changing landscapes in late capitalism

chapter 22|8 pages

Neoliberalism and the Alternative of the Common

ByPierre Dardot, Christian Laval

chapter 23|14 pages

Indignant Democracy

Problems of legitimization in neoliberal capitalism
ByJuan Carlos Monedero

chapter 24|11 pages

Art and the Wreckage

ByMarildo Menegat

part |1 pages

Critical reflections on the early multiplication of Theatre of the Oppressed

chapter 25|6 pages

The Tough Exile in Argentina, Or The “Sabbatical Year” of Boal

ByCecilia Thumim Boal

chapter 27|9 pages

The Beginnings of Theatre of the Oppressed in France

ByJean-François Martel

chapter 28|7 pages

Theatre of The oppressed, Not Theatre for The Oppressed

Origins of Jana Sanskriti and evolutions of TO in India
BySanjoy Ganguly

chapter 29|5 pages

Early Conferences in the Us

PTO and its roots in the academy
ByDouglas Paterson

chapter 30|5 pages

Theatre of the Oppressed in Senegal

TO “proposed that we dare ourselves to dream”
ByMamadou Diol

part III|1 pages

Contemporary practice

chapter 31|14 pages

Theatre of the Oppressed in Neoliberal Times

From Che Guevara to the Uber driver
ByJulian Boal

part |1 pages


chapter 32|5 pages


The modularization of TO pedagogy
BySruti Bala

chapter 33|7 pages


Between market pressure and “critical generosity”
ByAleksandar Bančić, Ezequiel Basualdo, Amarílis Felizes

chapter 34|6 pages

Political Organizations

La Dignidad—theatre and politics in movement
Edited ByKelly Howe, Julian Boal, José Soeiro

chapter 35|8 pages


Theatre of the Oppressed with youth
ByCharles N. Adams

chapter 36|6 pages


Challenges and limitations
ByGeo Britto

chapter 37|12 pages


Theatre of the Oppressed and/as therapeutic praxis
ByBrent Blair, Iwan Brioc, Mady Schutzman

chapter 38|12 pages


Notion and feeling, goal and strategy
ByChen Alon, Sonja Arsham Kuftinec, Jan Cohen-Cruz

chapter 39|10 pages


Theatre of the Oppressed in colleges and universities
ByCharles N. Adams, Dani Snyder-Young, Alessandro Tolomelli

part |1 pages

Practices in context

chapter 40|4 pages

Jana Sanskriti

Continuous presence, aesthetical rigor, and political and social movement
BySanjoy Ganguly

chapter 41|6 pages


Challenges and paradoxes of a feminist Theatre of the Oppressed company
ByGwenaëlle Ferré

chapter 42|7 pages

Peles Negras, MÁscaras Negras (Black Skins, Black Masks)

Maria 28, racism, and domestic work
Edited ByKelly Howe, Julian Boal, José Soeiro

chapter 43|7 pages

Mstb (Roofless Movement of Bahia)

An experience of theatre and struggle
Edited ByKelly Howe, Julian Boal, José Soeiro

chapter 44|6 pages

Forn De Teatre Pa’tothom

A space for projects, training, and social struggle
ByJordi Forcadas

chapter 45|8 pages

Gto Montevideo

A theatre within a campaign
BySabrina Speranza

chapter 47|6 pages

Theatre of the Oppressed Nyc

Radical partnerships on the ground in New York City
ByKaty Rubin

chapter |2 pages


Message by Augusto Boal for World Theatre Day 2009
Edited ByKelly Howe, Julian Boal, José Soeiro