About 4elements

4elements Theatre Company is committed to ambitious theatre performance that incorporates political and social issues into a broader cultural discussion; our goal is to create exceptional artistic experiences based on social engagement.

Drawing on the drama of contemporary social change and 4elements creates original, socially engaged performances with community participants and professional actors.

4elements Theatre Company is committed to social inclusion through the arts. We are passionate about social change and our work is based on participatory methodologies including Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed. Founded in 2009, 4elements devises new socially engaged work and provides Theatre of the Oppressed workshops for individuals, groups, and communities.

Our aim is to create exciting new work and form partnerships that increase awareness of social exclusion and the benefits of arts facilitation for social inclusion.


What is Theatre of the Oppressed?

The Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) is the over-arching title given to the ensemble of techniques and approaches to theatre pioneered by the Brazilian practitioner Augusto Boal. The common element of the various branches of this work is that all seek to make the power of theatre as a force for change available to everyone, particularly those in oppressed situations. The areas of TO application range from the classroom to the council chamber, the union meeting to the therapeutic group, from the development charity to the homeless people’s hostel.

The Theatre of the Oppressed helps people to learn how to live in society by playing theatre.

We learn to act by acting. Theatre of the Oppressed is rehearsal for reality.
In the workshops participants explore their social reality, and find ways to articulate their experiences through theatre games, exercises, and role-plays.

What is Social Exclusion?

Social exclusion is where certain groups are pushed to the margins of society and prevented by poverty, low education levels, or inadequate life skills from participating in social processes that influence decisions and policies that affect marginalized groups. This exclusion insures that marginalized groups remain powerless with little chance of bettering their standard of living.

How specifically does Theatre of the Oppressed work towards social inclusion?

The oppressed, or socially excluded, are those individuals or groups who are socially, culturally, politically, economically, racially, sexually, or in any other way deprived of their right to freely exchange with others, as a person and as a group, to participate in human society as a respected equal.

The Theatre of the Oppressed is based upon the principle that all human relationships should be of a dialogic nature: among men and women, races, families, groups and nations, dialogue should prevail. In reality, all dialogues have the tendency to become monologues, which creates the relationship oppressors – oppressed. Acknowledging this reality, the main principle of Theatre of the Oppressed is to help restore dialogue among human beings.
Why is social change necessary?

Inclusion of marginalized groups is necessary for a fair, equitable, and democratic society.

The foundation of true democracy rests on respecting differences between individuals and groups, and the participation of all human beings in the social processes that determine decision and policy making.

How does TO accomplish social change?

The Theatre of the Oppressed offers everyone the aesthetic means to analyze their past, in the context of their present, and subsequently to invent their future, without waiting for it. The Theatre of the Oppressed helps human beings to recover a language they already possess: we learn how to live in society by playing theatre. We learn how to feel by feeling; how to think by thinking; how to act by acting. Theatre of the Oppressed is rehearsal for reality.



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