In the early 70s, in Brazil, artists, the media and society at large faced a context of censorship whose objective was to hide content, consolidate “truths” and re-create reality. Under Augusto Boal’s direction, the Group II of ArenaTheatre of São Paulo started developing theatrical techniques that sought to reveal the manipulation which redesigned the image of what was real.
They were seeking to create images that would make the absences visible. They produced sounds and rhythms that emphasised the silenced voices, rhythmically and repetitively reading the same headline to bring attention to the contradictions, the traps and the absurd. When reading the text, they paused to present images contradicting the content, among other options. Acting, singing, reading, dancing, creating image and sound, they were creating ingenious ways to reject the distortions censorship had caused in the real image.
Newspaper Theatre emerged in the 1970s in Brazil as an aesthetic response to authoritarian censorship imposed by the military on the media, artists and society. Its rediscovery has involved the need to democratise mass media controlled by economic powers and to explore options offered by new means of communication such as the internet.
In the KURINGA Theatre of the Oppressed Qualification Programme we use in Berlin, Newspaper Theatre is also developed mainly as a structural foundation for researching Social Context or Forum Theatre plays.
i SANTOS, Bárbara. Theatre of the Oppressed ROOTS & WINGS a theory of praxis. Los Angeles – USA, KURINGA in conjunction with UCLA Art & Global Health Center and UCLA Prison Education Program, 2019