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Forum theatre as a tool against social oppression

In the period from 01.02.2023 to 10.02.2023, as a representative of Volunteers Centre Skopje, I participated in the “Let’s break the breaking news” training course in Sarata-Monteoru in Romania, where through a combination of different methods from the domains of non-formal education, the theater of the oppressed and critical theory, a total of 34 youth workers from 16 countries had the opportunity to become familiar with the concept of forum theatre and its potential in terms of undermining oppressive social structures.

The training was divided into three parts, which included explaining the role of fake news as an important instance in the production of oppressive social structures in the first part, familiarization with the forum theatre methodology in the second and its implementation in the third. In fact, the third part covered a wider range of activities, which included two theatrical performances, four videos and the creation of promotional material. Hence, within the course itself, several practices were implemented that undermine the various types of oppression in our social communities and strive to create a society with equal opportunities for all.

As a product of the training, two theatrical performances were organized in front of a larger group of high school students and students in Buzau, where two topics of violence and the spread of fake news were specifically thematized. The first theater performance in which I participated as an actor illustrated sexual violence in the universe and the spread of fake news related to it. The purpose of the forum theatre was to simulate resistance to oppressive social policies through audience interventions, so that a solution would be offered, that is, the tragic unfolding of the story would be avoided.

Hence, this training course offered a wide range of opportunities for individual and collective reflection on our positions in society, questioning the power reactions that define them and finding opportunities that will lead us out of the cycle of violence in which we are trapped. Of course, in that collection of topics, the media play a particularly important role, because they can simultaneously function as promoters and as protectors of a certain category of subjects. The focus of this training course on that key instance in the circulation of power in social communities allowed us to acquire skills for its implementation to create inclusive communities, which will integrate the various marginalized groups.

The very creation of our international community, that is, the gathering of all participants from different countries and their involvement in the production of joint works, through which they can share their different experiences and knowledge, was moving in that perspective. From there, these ten days allowed me to create new friendships, to get to know new cultures and their practices and through cooperation to participate in the formation of a community that shares the common values of non-discrimination, inclusion and integration and the fight against violence.

Considering all these things, I can conclude that this was a wonderful experience, which allowed me to learn many things from the domain of theater, film and media in general, as well as motivated me for further action both in my local community and globally stage towards the creation of non-violent, i.e. spaces where people with different cultural, gender, sexual or any identity categories will be able to feel completely welcome.

Kristijan Stefanovski


Project partner: FPT BUZAU