Skip to main content
Theatre Of The Oppressed

Forum Theatre

Lesson 9 - Forum Theatre

Objective: Students will demonstrate their understanding of Forum Theatre by creating a scene with oppression and then performing it in Forum Theatre style--encouraging audience members to become actors to try and solve the problems in the scene in a variety of ways.

Materials: Oppression Final Self Assessment


Colombian hypnosis

  • Begin class with reviewing the rules for Colombian hypnosis. One person is the leader, the other the follower. The follower has to follow the leader’s hand perfectly.
  • Start with two followers with each leader. Look for engaging images and call ‘Freeze’ when most groups are in an interesting configuration. Have one group unfreeze and observe the images they see. Afterwards, that group freezes in their image and another group unfreezes. 
  • Repeat the activity with two followers for each leader (from lesson 1)
  • Repeat the activity with one leader in the middle, two followers, and those followers have followers as well.
  • Discussion
    • After more lessons about images and oppression, how has your understanding or observations of this game changed?
    • What is oppression?
    • How does it affect all of us?
    • What is the importance of images?
    • How has this unit helped you as an actor?


Inform students that they will be combining all of the skills they have learned into one final activity.


Forum Theatre - Groups of 5-6 students (total of 3-4 groups)

  • Instructions: Create a 30 second scene where there is clear oppression, characters, and conflict. Ask students to determine a realistic scene where oppression can easily be observed. Tell them to choose a situation where there can be multiple oppressors and the oppression cannot easily be solved.
  • For teachers: Give students a good amount of time to work on these scenes. Walk around to groups and check in them. If you have time, have them perform the scenes for you so you can give them feedback.


  • Instructions: Groups will perform their scenes. Inform students that Forum Theatre encourages audience members to become actors to try and solve the problems in the scene. Tell students that the goal of Forum Theatre isn’t to find one correct answer, but to discuss multiple ways to solve the oppression.
    • Groups perform scenes once. Invite the audience to look for moments of oppression.
    • Groups start to perform the scene again. When a moment of oppression occurs, audience members have the opportunity to call “Freeze” and take the place of the oppressed individual. The scene resumes and the spec-actor (spectator/actor) tries to solve the oppression.
    • Other audience members can replace the spec-actor and try to solve the oppression in a new way.
    • If the conflict is getting solved too easily, Actors can add conflict or an audience member can call “Freeze”, take the place of an oppressor, and intensify the oppression. 
  • Repeat this for each group

Discussion (Last 5 minutes)

  • What kinds of oppression did we discuss in these scenes?
  • What did you discover about oppression?
  • How do these scenes connect to your own life?
  • How do you feel more prepared to discuss and combat oppression?

Oppression Final Self Assessment for Unit (can be done online or in person or for homework)

  • Fill out and answer the self assessment questions for credit.