Media Theatre

The media – a double-edged sword
Between a tool of dominance and a weapon of resistance

Almost 50 years ago Augusto Boal and his São Paulo (Brazil) Arena Theatre team developed the Newspaper Theatre. It was to be the first technique of Theatre of the Oppressed (TO). Newspaper Theatre already took the double-edgedness of the media at the time into account. On the one hand as tool of dominance (the dictatorship controlled the media) and on the other as a weapon of resistance (influencing the media can set off a revolution).

Newspaper Theatre is used less and less in the 21st century. But not because it wouldn’t be contemporary. Augusto Boal had already pointed out that the truth shall always be manipulated by the ruling class. This was reality 50 years ago and may even be more so today. The media themselves, however, have multiplied. Radio already existed back then, TV entered the arena and today the so-called social media act as the most sophisticated means of dominance. At the same time, the media have paved the way for revolutions. E.g. in the Philippines radio helped toppling the dictator Marco, TV tipped the balance of power over against Pinochet and the new media triggered the Arab and Persian Spring revolts.

Today we observe the manipulation of the truth in many contexts: migration, gender, economy, integration, ecology, security, images of friends and foes. What role can Theatre of the Oppressed play in dealing with contemporary media? At any rate we need creative ideas and techniques to face the questions of today. During this weekend we want to adapt existing techniques and conceive new ones. The results can be implemented by activists and journalists anywhere in the world.

The media theatre workshop/laboratory weekend is divided into a workshop on day #1, during which we want to analyse the media-industrial complex. Key areas: power relations, protagonists/antagonists, resistance.

Day #2, is rather of laboratory nature. We want to discover and develop existing and new techniques to conceive and implement resistance strategies.

An extra day may be added if necessary/desired.

Workshop/laboratory participation doesn’t require and previous knowledge. Both workshop and laboratory will be offered in several languages, if necessary.

We will use TO techniques: Newspaper Theatre, Image Theatre, Forum Theater, Rainbow of Desire.

Media Theatre workshops are  “work in progress”, with an important role played by the participants. Therefore the fee is on a basic level. A synthesis of all Media Theatre workshops until then will be presented at the Jana Sanskriti Muktadhara Festival 2018 in India. To book a Media Theatre workshop, please contact me at ronald@c-linq.nl.

Media Theatre workshops/laboratories have taken place until now in Dnipro (Ukraine, 2015), Halle/Saale (Germany, 2016), Vienna (2016) and Istanbul (2017).

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