Transnational networks of the Theatre of the Oppressed: exchanges and institutionalization of a circulating method

Clara de Andrade

University of Santa Úrsula



This paper reflects on how the transnational networks of the Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) founded by Augusto Boal may have been a determinant for its institutionalization as one of the most practiced theatrical methodologies worldwide. The transnational expansion of the TO movement was part of an epistemic shift in the field of culture in the 1970s which saw theatre as a whole detaching itself from the model of high culture, and aiming instead at projects in which it acted as a tool for social development. After the establishment and adaptation of TO in France, Boal found ways to internationally systematize his method. The foundation of the first Centre for the TO in Paris, as a NGO, served as a basis for the creation of new centres in this same NGO format in countries like India, Brazil and Mozambique. Nowadays, these centres act as diffusion hubs of the method, strengthening the institutional view of the Theatre of the Oppressed around the world. Several international networks of the method have formed, gathering practitioners from different countries in festivals in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. The method has established itself as a transnational movement on all five continents.

She is an actress, singer, teacher and researcher of Theatre. She is a Collaborative Lecturer in Theatre at the University of Santa Úrsula and at CAL Faculty of Performing Arts in Brazil.