Forum Theatre

Set of Introductory Exercises for the Theatre of the Oppressed


Leading by the Palm

Leading by Sound

Magical Object

Linking Statues

Duration: 35 minutes


Setting the Play

Duration: 60 minutes

Split into three groups. (You can use one of the creative division methods: see the section on Creative Division into Small Groups or Pairs on p. 259.)

Each group is tasked with preparing a role play depicting structural violence that will be further developed. The recommendation is to first brainstorm ideas for the role play, discuss them and only then decide which idea to develop.


The ideal number of participants per group is five to seven. The groups should be separated or spaced out so that they can develop and try out their role plays more freely. One person from the training team should accompany each group and help develop the role play with questions and advice, but the focus of the role play is up to the participants.


Display, Analysis and Changes to the Role Plays

Duration: 180–225 minutes (60–75 minutes per role play)

Step 1. Show one of the prepared role plays.

Step 2. Participants from the audience talk about what they have seen and where they see structural violence, which of the roles are the source of the structural violence.

Step 3. The performers clarify what they wanted to show, everyone clarifies their role and how they felt playing it.

Step 4. The audience is asked to think about possible changes that could contribute to reducing violence and to try to replace one of the roles – to come onto the stage and replace a performer. Do not replace the roles that are the source of the structural violence.

Step 5. Perform the role play again. One person from the audience comes on stage to replace one of the performers and tries to change the role play. The other performers respond to the change and play along.

Step 6. All those on stage are asked: “How did you feel? What happened?” (Start from the person whose role was most affected by the change.)

Step 7. Question for the audience: “What did you notice?” Step 8. Next replacement. Repeat steps 5 to 7.


Do a few replacements. At the end call for a big round of applause for all those who participated in the role play. Make sure to have a break before you move on to the next role play.





Moderating the forum theatre requires preparation and a high degree of concentration, as well as thinking on your feet. Itis worth noting that some people may experience this exercise very emotionally.

Someparticipants may find it difficult to step out of their role, so it could be a good idea to make an exit from the roles at the end of the exercise. The simplest way to do this is for everyone to say their name, where they come from, what date it is and where they are now: “My name is Lamija Cerić Today is… I am in Ulcinj at the peacebuilding training.”