14 May 2010

Grundtvig project on Theatre of the Oppressed and Feminism

Dear Friends,

We are very pleased to tell you that our Grundtvig project * on Theatre of the Oppressed and Feminism was accepted.

This project was designed as a continuation of and a more in-depth look at the meetings that occurred in Rio de Janeiro and in Graz on feminism and TO. To have participated in those meetings is not compulsory but we wish to have representatives of Theatre of the Oppressed groups that already deal with the issue of Women’s oppression as participants of this project.

Inside the world of Theatre of the Oppressed this issue is very present and the political orientations are really diverse. We want to foster the debate and have many very critical discussions. As open for criticism that we want this meeting to be, we don't want to have discussions trying to prove points, that for us, are the very base of feminism. We want to open a place for possible allies to meet, not a place in which we would try to convince people that, for instance, our society produces the inequality between men and women.

The basic points that should be taken for granted by all of us are:

- Gender is a social construction: there is no such things as male essence or feminine nature, just historical process that creates men and women. To recognize that there are feminine and masculine identities, does not need to go along with the belief that those identities are rooted in our D.N.A.

- Gender doesn't imply that all of us are similarly oppressed: the fact that both men and women are created by gender doesn't mean that there is no relation of domination between the two created groups. Capitalism also creates workers and capitalists, it does not means that there is not an oppressive group that do take benefits from the exploitation.

- Gender is not only an idea without any material support: To fight against sexism, it is very important to create another subjectivity, but it's not enough. Gender is not a "state of mind" that we could just switch off. The patriarchal ideology is the complement of a very concrete patriarchal organization of society as a whole.

- Gender is a social system: To name gender a social system, to de-naturalize it implies to see that there is hope. Social systems have histories, contradictions, dynamics, cracks in which battlefields can be created, struggles can be organized and victories imagined.

Within this very general frame, we want to have the most fruitful debate and creative exchange. We hope this invitation will sound appealing to you and that you will join us in Paris in January and March.

If you need any further information please don't hesitate to contact us don't hesitate neither to forward this message to anyone you believe is interesting and that could be interested.

Warm regards,

Muriel Naessens and Julian Boal



*A Grundtvig project basically gives you, if your application is accepted, a grant that covers all the costs (flights, lodgment, food and the costs of participation to the course). It’s pretty easy to obtain the grant. You have to go to http://ec.europa.eu/education/trainingdatabase/search.cfm and enter FR-2010-317 as the reference number. Then you will have all the information needed on how to apply for the project. If you follow this link http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-programme/doc1208_en.htm , you will find a document with the addresses and contacts information of all Socrates agencies over Europe and Turkey in case you need to have a direct contact with them.


One of the fundamental values of the European Union is women/men equality. Public policies put in place awareness raising actions, information campaigns. Professionals, and third sector activists develop methods and tools that could allow women’s emancipation. This thematic is present at a European level in the method of Theatre of the Oppressed, a tool for popular education and emancipation. A meeting in France of Theatre of the Oppressed practitioners is proposed in order to interrogate our practices with the goal of being more efficient in the public debate. The initiative for this meeting belongs to “Feminisme Enjeux” who have been using Theatre of the Oppressed for the prevention of sexist violence and sexism for 12 years.

In the European network of Theatre of the Oppressed, many groups work on the theme of equality between men and women, targeting many different audiences: young adults, disenfranchised audiences, migrant women but also professionals, third sector groups, educators, teachers, etc.

The first step would be to create a questionnaire, in order to get to better know their practices on this theme, along different angles: prevention of the sexism towards the youth, domestic violence, wage inequalities etc…
To identify any existing partnership work between institutions and NGOs that work around this theme
To issue recommendations for NGOs to gain a basic knowledge of the laws, to identify legislative and regulatory frameworks and identify the most relevant issues in each country
To create a video document with English subtitles presenting particularly meaningful scene of forum-theatre around the thematic, presented to an audience or as a work in progress.


The gathering of Theatre of the Oppressed practitioners from many different countries that work on this issue is a necessity in order to exchange and share our practices by comparing our approaches and trying to answer to many questions: Where are we standing on the analysis of our practices? What are our limits and interrogations? What are the criteria the method should meet in order to be more efficient? What kind of reflection can we bring into the public space? This meeting will therefore allow the acquisition of news tools and methods.


2 different working moments:
1°) Theoretical contributions, exchange of practices and comparative analysis
5 days in September 2010
Theoretical contributions: interventions of specialists and experts to feed our reflection on the history and genesis of inequalities between men and women in our society, on the women’s liberation movement and on the feminist struggles. Projections of videos from each represented group of particularly meaningful sequences, subtitled in English, in order to generate analysis, criticism and a synthesis upon on those scenes. What is the angle used to approach the theme? How are the system and mechanisms of oppression made visible? The objective is to exchange by using as a base the experience of participants and to provoke a dialectical debate of ideas.
Concrete exchanges of practices by seeing facilitators in action using games and exercises that could be used with different audiences, all aiming to make visible and to decipher the stereotypes that constructs the feminine and the masculine. This part would have as an objective to diversify the arsenal of relevant exercises that could be used to work with a public of young adults and adults, that can allow the location of unequal sex representations and social roles.

2°) Research/action:
5 days in November 2010

Creation and representation of a forum-theatre piece on the issue of women-men equality. To prolong the reflection by the intervention of NGO and institutional experts on the relevance of actions taken by using Theatre of the Oppressed methods and partnership work. To devise collectively to decide collectively on the content, the choice of the dramaturgy, of the aesthetics, of the scenography. The objective is to learn the techniques necessary to the construction of a forum-theatre piece on the issue of women/men equality.


The representatives of each group will have the possibility to re-appropriate for themselves the collective creation of the forum-theatre piece, not to reproduce it as such in their own country but to be inspired by it, to adapt it in order to create some actions in their local environment, and to exchange on those actions in order to allow a long-lasting partnership.


1°) Exchange of practices and compared analysis:
5 days from the 1st to 5th September 2010

1st day:
10/13h: Introduction, expectations
14h/17h: Exchanges of practices towards different audiences of games and exercises on gender representations.

2nd day:
10h/13h: Theoretical contribution on patriarchy and its consequences for women, done by an academic.
14h/17h: Exchanges of practice for a location on the women/men inequalities.

3rd day:
10h/13h: 1st screening of videos on domestic violence. Analysis, propositions.
14h/17h: Representation of a forum-theatre on domestic violence with a public. Presentation of a professional on partnerships and prevention with Theatre of the Oppressed.

4th day:
10h/13h: Theoretical contributions on the women’s movement, the feminism.
14h/17h: Practices exchanges on games, exercises and Image Theatre on the men/women domination.

5th day:
10h/13h: 2nd screening of videos on sexism prevention towards young adults. Analysis.
14h/17h: Assessment, evaluation. To consider the focus of the second week of November on research/action.

2°) Research/action
5 days from the 17th till the 21st of November 2010
1st day:
10h/13h: Introduction, feedback. Difficulties found in using the exercises in each country. Presentation of the week.
14h/17h: Training and devising of a forum-theatre piece. Choice of the theme and of the audience targeted.

2nd day:
10/13h: construction of the model, the passage from the individual to the collective. To make visible the system and the will of the protagonist.
14h/17h: Image theatre, aesthetics and scenography.

3rd day:
10h/13h: Rehearsal techniques: theatricality, performance and intentions of the characters.
14h/17h: Training to the forum

4th day:
10h/13h: general rehearsal
14h/17h: pubic presentation

5th day:
10h/13h: evaluation of the forum-theatre
14h/17h: Assessment, perspectives and long-lasting partnership.

Certificate of attendence


DATE OF START: 19/01/2011
DATE OF END: 23/01/2011


DATE OF START: 23/03/2011
DATE OF END: 27/03/2011

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post! I wish you could follow up on this topic!