Story-gathering: Participatory theatre for facilitation and empowerment

Heidi Winters Vogel and Roger Foster

Participatory theatre is the practice of using the tools of storytelling and embodied narrative (performance) to activate and engage individuals, organizations and communities; facilitating and promoting participant-generated change. This form of theatre is not intended to guide participants to the “correct” path (pre-determined outcomes), but rather to facilitate exploration and discovery that lead to deeper understandings of a situation (pedagogy of participant-generated change). Participatory theatre analyzes past conflicts and systemic injustices on individuals and communities in order to heal, caution against and/or prepare for recurring traumatic events.


This course will introduce and develop fluency in participatory theatre techniques for use in mediation, intervention and group facilitation. Students will investigate theatre’s connection with civic dialogue and learn to use interactive tools of storytelling and public performance leading to participant-generated change.


Participants will learn to facilitate effective community-generated solutions to conflict and injustice. The work of Augusto Boal (Theatre of the Oppressed and Forum Theatre) and Jonathan Fox (Playback Theatre) provide the theoretical and practical grounding for this course.


This course is being offered for training and for academic credit. The syllabus details the number of credits hours and associated course requirements.


Zehr Institute Webinars


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