“Theatre of the Oppressed in Praxis: from Latin America to the US,” by Alexander Santiago-Jirau, CRP'02, LACS Seminar Series

  • Uris Hall, Go8

This interactive talk will serve as an introduction to the activist forms that make up the arsenal of the Theatre of the Oppressed (TO): a collection of games, techniques, and exercises using theatre as a vehicle for personal, political, and social change. Originally developed in Brazil by theatre innovator Augusto Boal, TO was inspired in part by the educational theories of Paulo Freire, and employed with peasants and workers throughout Latin America. Today, the techniques are used internationally and have been adapted by countless companies and practitioners. Join us to learn about TO’s foundational theories, its growth in Latin America and its practice in the United States, along with some of TO’s most well-known exercises.

In celebration of Halloween: Coffee, Cider, and Donuts served.

Alexander Santiago-Jirau (he/him/his) is Director of Education at New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW). In this role, he oversees all of NYTW’s education and engagement initiatives, including the Mind the Gap (MTG) intergenerational theatre program, student matinees, in-school teaching artist residencies, after-school programs, master classes, administrative fellowships, and community-based programs. A Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) practitioner who studied and worked with Augusto Boal, Alex has facilitated many workshops throughout his career, particularly with youth, educators and immigrant communities. He is Past-President of the Board of Directors of Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed, Inc., a national organization devoted to the work of liberatory educators, activists, artists, and community organizers, and a current board member for the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable, a service organization for arts education practitioners.

Alex has presented his work at numerous conferences and his writing has appeared in The Indypendent, TYA Today, The Cross Border Project Blog (Spain), “Come Closer”: Critical Perspectives on Theatre of the Oppressed, The Routledge Companion to Theatre of the Oppressed, and Applied Theatre with Youth: Education, Engagement, Activism. He has taught Latin American and Latinx Theatre at Drew University and currently teaches TO for the Department of Drama at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and the Educational Theatre program at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. He holds a BS in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University and an MA in Educational Theatre from NYU Steinhardt.