Theater of the Oppressed

How to transform the audience into “spect-actors,” where those participating in a performance both observe (spectator) and create (actor) dramatic meaning and action?

Starting in September 2023, over twenty resident students at the Alachua Academy will engage in a performance class based on Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed. This artistic and political methodology wishes to transform (passive) spectators into (active) subjects: the spect-actors. To break the cycle of incarceration for young people, these students learn the poetics of the oppressed to create, as theater practitioner Diane Conrad says, “alternative endings, opportunities to reimagine themselves, and various possible futures.”

To achieve such a goal, students will watch videos and photographs and listen to recordings about challenging situations of people at a crossroads. They will discuss the materials and offer concrete responses by storyboarding a short film. Finally, they will translate their interpretations by creating a collage of images and sounds where they add their voices to evoke a desire to transform reality.