Legislative Theatre

Can theatre reinvent politics?

Authored by: José Soeiro

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:


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An “experiment.” 1 This is the word used by Boal to define his experience with Legislative Theatre. Like any weapon in Theatre of the Oppressed’s arsenal, this was also the result of the need to devise a concrete response to a specific problem and context: Rio de Janeiro in the early 1990s, when the Centre for the Theatre of the Oppressed (CTO-Rio) got involved in an electoral campaign and Boal was eventually elected councilman of that city by the Workers Party (PT). Boal’s mandate was not very long—four years between January 1, 1993 and the end of 1996—but it was intense enough to develop dozens of actions. Across that period, in conjunction with his mandate as legislator, about 50 Theatre of the Oppressed groups had been created (some with a brief existence, admittedly) on a territorial or thematic basis. In these three years, 33 bills were presented by Boal as a result of this collective work, 14 of which became municipal laws.

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