Theatre of the Oppressed
Theatre of the Oppressed was originally created by Brazilian theater visionary, politician, and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Augusto Boal (1931-2009) in the 1970s. Inspired by the remarkable philosophy and critical education developed through Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire, Boal originally developed T.O. by working with peasant and worker populations in Latin America. His work has expanded through 22 books (translated into over 35 languages) and has been used all over the world by different groups for social and political activism, conflict resolution, community building, therapy, and government legislation. It is also practiced on a grassroots level by community organizers, activists, teachers, social workers, cultural animators, and more.
Ridgelines began partnering with local social justice educator Érika Anseloni to offer T.O. workshops in Centre County in 2020. Érika’s first T.O. workshop welcomed a diversity of people who are interested in exploring the challenges of immigration. Together participants critically assessed the issues faced by immigrants and refugees, discovered common concerns and shared feelings in a safe space, and found strength in developing community, empathy, and self-connection. These explorations culminated in an informal video theater project highlighting the stories of immigrants and refugees.