Forum, Invisible & Interactive Theatre Programme
Forum Theatre is an interactive theatre form invented in the early 1970s by Augusto Boal in Brazil. Forum Theatre shows the main character (the protagonist) trying to deal with an obstacle, difficulty or oppression and failing because of the resistance of one or more of the other characters (the antagonists). The initial play ends ‘badly’ and the audience, which has been targeted because they face similar issues that are faced by the protagonist, is asked to come into the world of the play to see if they can change the ending for the better. In this way, as a community, the actors and audiences ‘rehearse behaviour change.’
Forum Theatre provides the framework and the chosen community provides the content to their plays. In this way, Forum Theatre has a vast range of opportunity to examine oppressions faced by a variety of communities; for this reason, it can be applied to most difficulties that people face on a daily basis.
Invisible Theatre works along the same lines as presenting a problem to the audience, but in this case the audience does not realize the problem is being presented by actors. The goal of invisible theatre is to present a problem to a community and the actors then leave with the hope that the discussion continues.
Hahn has worked with a variety of communities [school children, the disabled, recovering drug addicts, young girls in danger of becoming sex workers, sex workers attempting to better their circumstances and others] using forum theatre to examine behaviour as well as how to rebalance power within relationships. This has led to successful behaviour change on a personal level as well as legislative change from those who hold power over the powerless.
Since 2002, , Matthew Hahn, has been programming forum theatre projects within the United Kingdom, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi & South Africa.