Why Forum Theater?
“Forum theater is a type of theater created by innovative and inﬂuential practitioner Augustino Boal as part of what he calls the ‘theater of the oppressed’. Boal created forum theater as a forum for teaching people how to change their world.” It calls everyone as performers and not as spectators. It is a social integrative method where the problem is presented and audiences are invited to debate it, give their opinion, and find the best solutions to it.
The process is not limited by time. It lasts as long as participants are willing and able to engage in reaching a consensus or way forward in respect of the problem being discussed. In the case of Omugole Caravan Forum Theater Productions, audience members will be allowed to interrupt or stop the play performance and determine the next direction for the characters and, if they so wish, the play.
The debates are moderated by accomplished moderators and trained community facilitators. Designated minute takers and videographers record the people’s views and suggestions later compiled into a formal report that is shared with civic, cultural, political, religious, and opinion leaders from the region. The aim in this is to cause action and collective accountability to address the challenges mentioned.
The ultimate goal is to find immediate and workable solutions to the challenges facing the communities. The facilitator or moderator’s role is to ensure the performance is not just stopped for the sake of interrupting it or having fun but to encourage members of the audience to step in and perform what they want to “see” as the solution(s) to the problem.
A typical Forum Theater session runs as follows:
• Brief from the session facilitator about the reason(s) for the session or its objectives
• Performance or presentation of the prepared play/skit
• Interjections or offers to provide an alternative way forward on an issue
• Conclusions and recommendation
The process will be enriched by Community Life Competence Process (CLCP) and Community Organising Skills for Social Transformation (COSST) skills that we have been using for the past 16 years.