Patriarchy, Cisnormativity, Heteronormativity

Authored by: Kelly Howe

The Routledge Companion to Theatre of the Oppressed

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  February  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138291027
eBook ISBN: 9781315265704
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315265704-14

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Abstract

Since its development in the 1970s, Theatre of the Oppressed has been used in many contexts around the world for struggles against patriarchy, the oppression of gender constructs, and heteronormativity. 1 In his own books, Augusto Boal recounts Theatre of the Oppressed work addressing these oppressions in various ways. Or we might think specifically of Jana Sanskriti, the thousands-strong Theatre of the Oppressed movement in India, which has used TO to struggle against patriarchy and other oppressions in rural villages. 2 Or Féminisme-Enjeux, the French feminist TO collective. 3 Or the Ma(g)dalenas, a self-described “network of feminist theatre groups from Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Asia.” 4 Or the CTO-Rio play Coisas do Genero (Things of the Gender or Gender Things), which dissects patriarchal, heteronormative structures. 5 Or the Mandala Center for Change’s Transgender Youth Legislative Theatre project, which focused “on the struggles of living outside the mainstream’s definitions of gender identity and ultimately changing laws and public policy that impact transgender youth.” 6 Or New York-based practitioners S. Leigh Thompson and Alexander Santiago-Jirau, who have facilitated TO in a range of contexts with queer youth and have explored how “Theatre of the Oppressed offers queer young people the opportunity to go beyond the exploration of their identities and provides structures for understanding the larger political dimensions of their personal oppression stories.” 7 Thompson and Santiago-Jirau reflect, “We hoped to provide them the opportunity to move beyond heartwarming stories of queer pride or tragic displays of queer devastation to develop Forum stories of the oppression they face that would stimulate dialogue and positive action for change.” 8 In short, many people do TO with hopes of combating systems oppressing women, LGBTQIA people, and non-binary and genderqueer people. 9

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