Can theatre solve real world problems?

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According to participants at the 2016 Qatar Leadership Conference, it can. I enjoyed presenting at this annual event hosted by THIMUN Qatar on my favourite theatre practitioner, the late Augusto Boal. By presenting a short scene based on a real life experience of powerlessness, participants became ‘spect-actors’ and inserted themselves into the scene to reinvent creative solutions for more empowering solutions. It again reminded me of the power of play as a way of bringing a new group together, and it inspired me to see strangers connecting in a creative and charged atmosphere. Modelling alternative ‘scripts’ enlivened the group and many students left wanting to try Forum Theatre in their own school settings. Can we as educators look to model more creative ways of addressing issues of victimisation within our community? Boal claimed, “We are humans so we are all acting all the time. We are also spectators of our own actions.” If we agree with him, we may have to ask ourselves how do we really practise the necessary skills to make real changes to the oppressive behaviors that may be present in our schools and/or communities? I suggest play and practise – it is a lot more invigorating than yet another meeting.