Boal, Augusto (1931–)

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Boal, Augusto (1931–)

This theatrical director, writer, and politician has been a major public intellectual in Brazil since the 1960s. Boal led the development of the politically and socially engaged Teatro de Arena (Arena Theater) with others such as the late Gianfrancesco Guarnieri and Oduvaldo Viana Filho in São Paulo. Here he presented several plays, such as Revolucão na América do Sul (Revolution in South America) based in his notions of the teatro do oprimido (theater of the oppressed), influenced by Paulo Freire's "pedagogy of the oppressed." Arrested by the dictatorship in 1971, Boal suffered torture and sought exile first in Argentina and then in Paris, where for twelve years he created Centers for the Theater of Oppressed. With his innovative ideas of active audience participation, Boal developed the Forum Theater device, which allowed spectators to change the script, to liberate the play from oppressive conditions or relations. He created the Invisible Theater, where plays are presented in settings other than a theater (such as a restaurant); the Image Theater, which employs the body to create images; and other innovations that are internationally recognized. Among other prizes, Boal won the UNESCO Pablo Picasso Medal in 1994. The author has participated prominently in Brazilian politics for the last twenty years, on behalf of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (Labor Party).

See alsoTheater .


Boal, Augusto. Theatre of the Oppressed. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 1985.

Boal, Augusto. Teatro de Augusto Boal. Rio de Janeiro: Hucitec, 1992.

                                     Paula Halperin