Forum theatre, in its purest form, has a group of actors playing a rehearsed scene with a dilemma before the audience is invited to participate. An alternative to forum theatre, which is conducted with ‘professional’ actors, is forum plays. In forum plays the audience and actors come from the same group. The dilemmas and stories stem from the participants’ daily life, which makes the scenes relevant and familiar. Forum plays can be more accessible to use since a group of professional actors is not needed, it can be conducted with a group of young people without outside assistance.
The practical applications of forum theatre and forum plays are largely the same, only differing in the preparations and pre-activity prior to the performance itself.
The structure has three phases:
- Rehearsal period / pre-activity
- Forum theatre event / performance (a. introduction/warm up, b. performance, c. evaluation)
- After the performance/ Post-activities
The different phases each serve a separate purpose that is equally important to both begin and set up an atmosphere and to round off the event in a way that leaves the participants thinking and processing what they saw.
Follow the links to learn more about the different phases.
If you want to read more about the story behind and the development of forum theatre by Augusto Boal, you can do so here