Theater of the Oppressed Residency in Senegal Toubab Diallaw, Senegal, 16-27 May 2015

Theater of the Oppressed Residency in Senegal Toubab Diallaw, Senegal, 16-27 May 2015

Theater of the Oppressed Residency in Senegal

Toubab Diallaw, Senegal, 16-27 May 2015

ImaginAction, in collaboration with the Senegalese Theatre of the Oppressed group Kàddu Yaraax, is pleased to invite teachers, social workers, psychotherapists, activists, community organizers, artist educators, and students to participate in an Apprenticeship Residency to take place in Toubab Diallaw, Senegal, from May 16 to May 27, 2015.

Since 1993, Kàddu Yaraax has used participatory theatre to organize community responses to threats to the environment, the struggles against poverty and against the spread of HIV and other communicable diseases, and to promote education, science, traditional culture, and the arts.  Kàddu Yaraax is a member of the Alliance for Initiatives for Peace and Stability in West Africa.

Both organizations have extensive experience in using the Theatre of the Oppressed methodologies in communities and will join forces in May to create an experiential laboratory with a focus on the role of the Forum Theatre Joker as they share expertise and train others.

The Programme

ImaginAction’s participants will meet and work with our Senegalese colleagues on social issues affecting the life of people in Senegal such as domestic violence, fishing rights given to foreign companies, immigration towards Europe and disease-related stigma. The scenes that arise from the community will offer each apprentice hands-on opportunities to take the lead in constructing and leading Forum scenes and then receiving both group and individualized feedback. We will focus on each Joker’s challenges while developing awareness of each person’s style (physical, emotional and or rational). We will explore how to build on strengths while celebrating the unique gifts of each Joker.

We will also explore TO’s theoretical and methodological framework as it supports the creation of complex characters rather than relying on stereotypes of good and evil. Participants will also gain experience with the techniques of Rainbow of Desire and Cops in the Head as these open up possibilities for exploring the complexity of Forum scenes and training and preparing the actors for the actual Forum.

In line with ImaginAction’s philosophy, we will also explore traditional storytelling, council circle, improvisational drama, creative ritual and other artistic techniques brought and shared by the Senegalese and international TO participants.

Participants will be housed in the village of Toubab Diallaw, along the coast, 50 Km from Dakar. During the weekend we will enjoy day-trips and meet local groups working on social issues.

About Apprenticeship Residencies with ImaginAction

Distinguished, long-time TO practitioner, director, actor, playwright and psychologist Hector Aristizábal leads ImaginAction’s apprenticeship programs in order to offer training and mentorship to small groups of local and international practitioners. Although each residency offers its own unique set of challenges and possibilities as well as a unique alchemy among participants, we do know that in Senegal we will focus on the practice of Jokering and the creation of complex scenes for Forum Theatre. This immersive process creates much opportunity for in-depth and personalized reflection on the transformation of both the community and ourselves.

We strongly believe in the importance and need of creating spaces where artists and educators come together to learn and exchange practices. This has proved its worth in past residencies in Northern Ireland, China, Italy, Palestine and Colombia. With Kàddu Yaraax, we are able to offer a unique cultural program that offers TO training along with a revealing look at the significant role that participatory theatre plays in promoting justice and health in the West African context.

About Theatre of the Oppressed

The basic principles of the apprenticeship are inspired by the methodology of Theatre of the Oppressed (TO), which was created by Brazilian visionary, Augusto Boal. Theatre of the Oppressed is a form of popular community based art, which uses theatre as a tool for social transformation. Its basic philosophy is to re-humanize humanity. Originally developed out of Boal’s work with peasant and worker populations, it is now used all over the world for social and political activism, conflict transcendence, community building, therapy and healing. Designed for non-actors, it uses the universal language of theatre as a springboard for people and whole communities to investigate their lives, identify their dreams, and reinvent their future. TO invites critical thinking and dialogue. It is about analysing rather than giving answers. It is also about taking action rather than just talking. With TO, people can and often do discover empowering solutions to their own struggles. We use theatre as a laboratory to explore alternatives to conflict while reweaving the community with the invisible threads of imagination.  Often healing is a welcome guess in these processes.


The cost for this residency is $ 1,100 USD. This includes the intensive hours of learning, accommodation and food for the 10 days of the programme. The fee does not include visa fees nor airfare to and from Dakar.

How to apply

To apply or to request more detailed information about the apprenticeship, contact Hector Aristizabal at:

We have a limited number of spaces so please let us know of your interest prior to March 30, 2015.


The workshop will be mostly in English with translation to French and Wolof.

The ImaginAction facilitator

Hector Aristizábal was born in Medellín, Colombia where he had a distinguished career as director, actor, playwright, and psychologist. He has lived in exile in the U.S. since 1989, where has served on the board of the Program for Torture Victims. As a therapist, he has provided services to prisoners, AIDS patients and their families, emotionally disturbed youth, and low income immigrant communities. He co-founded the Colombia Peace Project-LA, and Theatre of the Oppressed-Los Angeles and leads TO workshops, based on the methodology developed by Augusto Boal and aimed at using theatre to encourage creative solutions to address injustice. He has performed on stage and screen and his solo work, “Nightwind” has been featured in theatrical venues, festivals, and human rights conferences in more than 35 countries around the world. Since 2000 he is founder and creative director of the non-profit organization, ImaginAction, which trains others in his unique combination of methodologies, aimed at community healing, community building and reconciliation.

To learn more about Hector Aristizábal and ImaginAction visit

To learn more about Kàddu Yaraax: