Forum Theatre

Forum Theatre

Action-oriented, theatre-in-education techniques transforming passive spectators into active participants

Forum Theatre is  an interactive approach to theatre-making that was derived from Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, devised in the 1970s as a political tool for change. It has since grown and evolved into a globally trusted approach to exploring solutions  in a variety of settings,  and has been widely adapted for use in educational contexts. The strategy  unites the performers and audience, putting  them in an equal position for story telling and problem solving.


It begins with a short performance, about a focus topic (or issue), that ends in crisis. The story is then replayed – however, during the second telling, the audience get to intervene in order to avert the crisis of the first telling.

Initially, this can take the form of audience members giving suggestions and directions to the actors, but the audience can also be invited on to stage to act out their own suggestions. At this point the students involved in Youth Choices performances are transformed from passive spectators into active participants, or ‘spect-actors’. The performance then  becomes  a collaboration between the audience and the actors on stage.

The audience are trying to “solve” the issue as quickly and easily as possible, whereas the actors are there to remind the audience that there are no “easy answers” in these scenarios. This encourages young people to utilise critical thinking skills by working together to come up with more complex or multilayered suggestions.

Forum Theatre is the basis of all of Youth Choices incursions in secondary schools, and Constable Care incursions for upper primary students. Students are encouraged to role play as they explore real-world scenarios and develop strategies for dealing with social issues and health pressures that affect their day to day lives, fostering resilience and encouraging youth to speak up and confidently enter into conversations about things that concern them. The Youth Choices Secondary School Intensive program takes it to the next level, enabling young people to devise and create their own forum theatre shows and films.