Augusto Boal was a Brazilian director, theatre maker and theorist who died in 2009. He operated mainly in Rio and Paris. He did however, travel widely and demonstrated his ideas on how audiences can participate in action. His work often focused on types of oppression such as racism, unemployment and various other forms of exploitation.
Similarly to Brecht, he believed theatre can change people, yet his techniques are very different letting his audience find their own problems and giving methods of finding solutions.
Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed can be divided in to three categories; Image Theatre, Invisible Theatre and Forum Theatre.
Image Theatre is a series of games and exercises designed to uncover essential truths about societies and cultures. The participants of Image Theatre make still images of their lives, feeling, experiences, oppressions, suggesting titles or themes and then 'sculpt' these using their own or others' bodies as clay. The image always remains static.
Invisible theatre is public theatre which involves the public as participants. They are 'spec-actors'. They may not necessarily know they are part of it as it is real life and really happening. The incidents, reactions etc are all real. The audience may not even know that it is an audience. The scene played may show inappropriate behaviour in a public space and the public are encouraged to become involved.
Forum theatre is often a game where a problem is unsolved. The audience is invited to suggest and enact solutions, hereby knowing they are involved in the action. The problem is always the symptom of oppression usually because they themselves are a 'victim' of oppression. Below are some links to some useful websites on Boal: