The Courage to Become. Augusto Boal’s Revolutionary Politics of the Body (open access)


Birgit Fritz
Translated by Lana Sendzimir and Ralph Yarrow

340 Seiten
Format: 23,0 x 15,5 cm
EUR (A) 0,–/EUR (D) 0,–


No-one working in the fields of theatre and politics, applied theatre, theatre history, theatre and performance theory, and transdisciplinary enquiry across the borders of theatre, society, ›development‹, sociology and social practice from the late twentieth century on can avoid the centrality of Augusto Boal’s theatre practice and methodology, its application and implications.
This book seeks to outline a number of framing contexts which have shaped this work and to draw from them conclusions about its relevance beyond its original context. It aims to open up questions about Boal’s work in the following areas:
Social and political: how do Boal’s practice and premises inflect how we might or should conceptualise and structure society, individuals, power relations, economies?
Critical pedagogies: how does Boal’s work and its relational nexus, including for example Freire and Fals Borda, demonstrate and/or develop the understanding and application of practices of learning, understanding, growing and collaborating?
The body: in which dimensions does Boal’s practice illuminate and open up somatic practices and aesthetic sensibilities which are crucial to social, political and environmental relationship for the 21st century?
Thus it traces a trajectory from the roots of Augusto Boal’s work in revolutionary theatre praxis to the autopoietic theatre work of the 21st century.




Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 Overview
1.2 Why this book now?
1.3 Methodologies and approaches: aesthetics and autopoiesis
1.3.1 Dialogic and interactive structure
1.4 Contexts
1.4.1 Political and historical origins (Latin America)
1.5 Frameworks of contemporary practice and scholarship
1.5.1 Current State of Research
1.5.2 Published work: an indicative overview
1.5.3 Forms of Praxis
1.5.4 Ethics and practice
1.6 Structure of the book

Part I – Histories, Methodologies, Ethics

Chapter 2: Freire and Boal
2.1 Updating the Term – Theatre of the Oppressed
2.2 The relevance of Pedagogy of the Oppressed for TO
2.3 Biographical overlap between Boal and Freire
2.3.1 Paulo Freire
2.3.2 Augusto Boal
2.4 Awards and Works

Chapter 3: State Politics in Latin America 1960–1980
3.1 Historico-Political Perspectives of State Politics
3.2 Dependency Theory
3.3 The Indigenous Perspective
3.4 Shades of Marx

Chapter 4: Key Concepts of PO and TO in response to the situation
4.1 Oppression
4.2 Oppressors
4.3 People and the People’s Theatre
4.4 Boal’s model of people’s theatre
4.5 Status and Authority
4.6 Limit-Situation and Theatre on the Edge

Chapter 5: The Declaration of Principles of TO with Freirian commentary
5.1 Major clauses
5.2 Essential Theatre
5.3 Freirian Decoding of Paragraphs 9–12
5.4 Principles and Aims of TO
5.5 Other key concepts
Political Power
Consciousness/Awareness and Conscientisation
Liberation is Praxis, is Action and Reflection
Cultural Invasion and Thinking
Manipulation/Divide and Rule
Generative Themes
Testing action and untested feasibility
Culture of Silence

Chapter 6: Boal’s Early Practical Work in Latin America
6.1 Concrete Experience Number I – The ALFIN-Project
6.1.1 Pedagogy of the Oppressed: Stages of Educational Intervention
6.1.2 Boal’s Assignment in ALFIN
6.1.3 The sequence of theatrical intervention
6.1.4 The Languages of Theatre
6.1.5 Wider goals of alphabetisation
6.2 Concrete Experience no 2: the CPCs, 1960–64
6.2.1 Forum theatre in the context of the CPCs
6.3 Concrete Experience No. 3: Boal’s Periods of Creative Development
Summary of Part 1

Part II – Parallel Practices: Participatory Action Research and Creación Colectiva
Overview: Aims and Methods

Chapter 7: Participatory Action Research
7.1 What is Action Research?
7.2 The History of Action Research
7.3 Second and Third Generation Action Research
7.4 Important Aspects of Action Research
7.4.1 Knowledge and Power (how to proceed)
7.4.2 A humanistic approach (who we are)
7.4.3 The relationship between Systemic Thinking and AR (what binds us together)
7.4.4 Action Research in the South
7.4.5 Orlando Fals Borda (1925–2008)
7.4.6 Fals Borda and Participatory Action Research (IAP/PAR)
7.4.7 Science and Art in ›Historia Doble de la Costa‹
7.4.8 The Condition of Sensitive Thinking
7.4.9 Looking forward to the twenty-first century
7.5 Summary and Evaluation

Chapter 8: Latin American Theatre Practices
8.1 Observations on the theatre history of Latin America and the development of the Teatro Nuevo
8.1.1 Introduction
8.1.2 New Colombian Theatre
8.1.3 The influence of Brecht
8.1.4 Buenaventura and the theatrical vision of the TEC
8.1.5 Enrique Buenaventura the man
8.1.6 The practice of Creación Colectiva
8.1.7 The aesthetic theory of Creación Colectiva
8.1.8 Enrique Buenaventura and Augusto Boal
8.1.9 The Thought of Rodolfo Kusch
8.2 Summary of Chapter 8

Part III – From an aesthetic of perception to autopoiesis

Chapter 9: A Comparison of TO/PAR/CC
9.1 Comparative table
9.2 Extrapolation: tasks and methods: thoughts on the comparison between TO, PAR and CC

Chapter 10: History through the body
10.1 Theatre as Action
10.2 On Destruction
10.3 Synthesis

Chapter 11: Autopoiesis
11.1 Self-creation
11.2 Autopoietic Somatic Learning
11.3 Feldenkrais and TO
11.4 Foundations of The Feldenkrais Method
11.5 Boal’s Exercises and Games
11.6 The Autopoietic Game
11.7 The Aesthetic Space
11.8 The Human Being
11.9 Three Hypotheses
11.9.1 Osmosis
11.9.2 Metaxis
11.9.3 Analogical Induction

Chapter 12: An Aesthetic of Perception and of Peace
12.1 Aesthetic of Perception
12.2 Aesthetics of Peace/the Peaces
12.3 Elicitive Conflict transformation
12.4 Transrational Peaces
12.5 Boal’s Aesthetics of the Oppressed
12.5.1 The Oppressed
12.5.2 Culture
12.5.3 Understanding of Self
12.5.4 Language
12.5.5 The Aesthetic Neurons
12.6 Democracies and Monarchies
12.7 Democratic Aesthetics against the Monarchy of Art

Outlook for the 21st Century
Appendix 1: The Declaration of Principles of Theatre of the Oppressed
Appendix 2: The Manaus Mandate: Indigenous Action for Life
Appendix 3: Applied Participatory Action Research in Guatemala
Appendix 4: Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth




Autorin und Übersetzer

Birgit Fritz is a visiting tutor in transcultural theatre and theatre action research and a high-school teacher. She studied extensively with Boal, is part of the Jana Sanskriti Network and founded the CTO-Vienna, TdU-Wien. Her publications include the handbook „InExActArt – The Autopoietic Theatre of Augusto Boal“, and translations into German of Augusto Boal’s autobiography „Hamlet and the Baker’s Son“ and Sanjoy Ganguly’s book „Jana Sanskriti – Forum Theatre and Democracy in India“. She lives and works near Vienna, Austria.

Lana Sendzimir studied Social Sciences and Humanities before getting her Masters Degree in Theatre and Media for Development in the UK. She continued her studies in The Theatre of the Oppressed by training with Birgit Fritz, as well as many other practitioners in the field. Her work has lead her to study movement and bodywork in a variety of modalities, for a deeper exploration and awareness of the body and its healing through creative expression and touch.

Ralph Yarrow is Emeritus Professor of Drama and Comparative Literature, University of East Anglia, Norwich UK. He taught French language/literature for 15 years, then retrained in drama practice and Indian theatre, later moving full-time to Drama. He has directed productions in the UK, India, South Africa and Germany. Books include „Improvisation in Drama, Theatre and Performance“ (with Anthony Frost, Palgrave 1990, 2005, 2015); „Consciousness, Literature and Theatre“ (with Peter Malekin); „Indian Theatre; and Sacred Theatre“ (with Franc Chamberlain, Bill Haney, Carl Lavery and Peter Malekin).