from Action back to Imagination


As our social institutions collapse and the earth shatters we tend to seek answers to these overwhelming challenges in science, politics, ideologies and philosophies. This workshop invites us to look into our own experiences and awaken the wisdom in our collective psyche. In this changing world we can ground ourselves by connecting to the messages written in our life’s and theater is one of the most powerful ways to awaken our imagination. In this way we may be able to find antidotes to fear and despair, depression and aggression as well as inspiration for a more meaningful life.

During our workshop we will use theater to tap into that deep well in order to awaken what has been called the inner genius or the gift that we each came to the world to give. Indigenous traditions call this inner secret the medicine, the wisdom we may gain from healing our own wounds. Our group will become a sudden village and a human laboratory as we use our own stories and interests to explore diverse methodologies which will help us imagine alternatives to our common challenges and provide opportunities for communal healing.

Hector will share his personal experience as well as what he has discovered through many years of work with communities in war-torn and post-conflict zones. In his work he combines Theater of the Oppressed, Theater of Witness, Playback Theater, The Work that Reconnects and other forms. The specific methods will arise from the group’s own dynamic but will include the exploration of personal story/myths, dream work, rainbow of desire/cops-in-the-head and the design of rituals using natural elements and body-centered work.

HECTOR ARISTIZABAL was born and grew up in Medellín, Colombia when it was the most dangerous city in the world. He survived civil war, arrest and torture. In 1989, violence and death threats forced him to leave his homeland and immigrate to the United States. He combined his training in psychology and the arts with lessons gained from life experience in his therapeutic work with torture and trauma survivors in post-conflict and war areas, with incarcerated youth, immigrant families, people affected by HIV/AIDS and many more. He is a theater director, actor and practitioner of the techniques known as Theater of the Oppressed, developed by Brazilian Augusto Boal. He founded ImaginAction to help people use the transformative power of theater around the world, including Colombia, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Nepal, Senegal, India, Palestine, Syria, etc… . During the last years Hector’s main work and interest has been on the use of Theater, storytelling, drumming and dance in combination with psychotherapy in the creation of “modern rituals” as a way to address the needs for healing and social transformation in our communities.