Free Workshop Series

Playing with Power: An Image Theatre Intensive

DATE CHANGE—3 Mondays: Nov 3, 10 and 17 • 7 to 9 p.m.
at the Rotunda • 4014 Walnut Street • West Philly
—series closed to new participants—

Like iconic photographs from history, Theatre of the Oppressed uses still images to highlight systems of power and ignite dialogues around contentious issues. In this three-part series we will play “The Great Game of Power”, a technique for sculpting images out of everyday objects to illustrate conflicts and struggles faced by those around us. When we add ourselves as actors into the picture, scenes spring to life as debates between people and politicians, friends and neighbors, and family members who can’t quite see eye-to-eye. We’ll enrich this work with some readings and discussions and create opportunities to carry our scenarios not just to the stage, but to the actual people and places embroiled in conflict.

More events soon to come. Call or email 267-282-1057 / "" for more info.

Free Workshop: Intro to Theatre of the Oppressed

Monday, October 6, 2014
at the Rotunda • 4014 Walnut Street

Theatre of the Oppressed (or “T.O.” for short) is a practice made up of images, sounds, movements, words and ideas taken from our collective experience in the world. Utilized by teachers, organizers, actors, activists and ordinary people in over 70 countries, Theatre of the Oppressed breaks down the dividing line between spectator and performer by inviting everyone to play theatrical games that hone our skills and spark conversations. These skills and conversations are the building blocks for more in-depth techniques that address power, privilege and oppression in our society and ourselves.

Here in Philly we kick off our 2014-2015 season with a free workshop that touches on some of the key practices of T.O. and the ways we can use it for personal and social transformation. Anyone of any experience and background is welcome to attend, just let us know that you’re coming by calling 267-282-1057, or email “”.

More events soon to come. Call or email 267-282-1057 / "" for more info.

About T.O. Philly

Philadelphia Theatre of the Oppressed (T.O. Philly) is a network of people using the tools of theatre and popular education to dismantle oppression. Much of the work we do is based on the writings and teachings of the late Augusto Boal, who developed the Theatre of the Oppressed in Brazil over 40 years ago. We also draw upon other theatre games and movement traditions, as well as models of popular education like those put forth by Paolo Freire in his book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

T.O. Philly offers classes, workshops and trainings for groups in Philadelphia and elsewhere. To book a workshop, get in touch with us by calling 267-282-1057 or email ""

T.O. Philly News: Summer 2014

It's been a spectacular spring! Several amazing facilitators officially joined the T.O. Philly team and led a variety of workshops in April and May at the Rotunda. Having so many Jokers* on deck, we were for the first time able to be practicing Theatre of the Oppressed in multiple places at once. Here's a synopsis of where we've been and who we've been with in the past couple months:

We were invited facilitators at the Zami conference for LGBTQ+ people of color, for the Ethical Humanist Society's Building an Ethical Future conference (which is where the photos on the right were taken), and at the Young Adult Friends Conference at Pendle Hill.

At local institutions, we did Image Theatre with Temple University's Institute on Disabilities, made quick Forum Theatre pieces with student art teachers through Tyler College's Arts Education Program, and brought Theatre of the Oppressed to UPenn to highlight the importance of improvisation as a tool for social change.

We also led games and anti-oppression group work with people from all over the world at the Girls Rock Camp Alliance's conference in New Jersey and for Action Service Reconciliation for Peace's seminar in D.C.

This summer we resume work with transgender and gender-variant youth at Camp Aranu'tiq on the East and West Coasts, with students and faculty at Goddard College in Vermont, with Mariposa Co-op's Food Justice and Anti-Racism group in West Philly, with South Philly's Burmese and Bhutanese refugee community at Growing Home Gardens, and with LGBT teens at The Attic Youth Center in central Philadelphia.

What else will 2014 bring? You tell us! Leave us a message on our new voicemail at 267-282-1057, or drop us a line at ye olde email:

Hope to see you soon!

—The T.O. Philly Team

*Joker is a Theatre of the Oppressed term for "facilitator" and also "difficultator". For more insight in to that, see our glossary of T.O. jargon.

Dram•Attic: Teen Forum Theatre with LGBT Youth and Allies

Performing at the Attic Youth Center's 2014 Summer Expo
Thursday, August 7th • 5:00-8:00 PM
at the William Way Community Center 
1315 Spruce Street, Philadelphia

T.O. Philly has teamed up with the Attic Youth Center this summer to present DramAttic, a Forum Theatre project with LGBTQ teens and their allies. Each week DramAttic creates a set of 5-minute mini-plays and then performs them for their wider community. After each scene, we have a Forum where audience members can step onto the stage and alter the outcome of the story.

DramAttic has been holding Thursday Morning Forums throughout July at the Attic Youth, highlights from which will be part of the Attic's Summer Expo on the evening of Thursday, August 7th at the William Way Center at 13th and Spruce Streets. Other groups at the Attic have been engaged in online social media, writing Twitter poetry, creating Vine and YouTube videos, and rethinking the way we engage on Facebook and Instagram. The Expo is open to the public—Come see what these teens are doing!

July Anti-Oppression Events at Mariposa Co-op

T.O. Philly is co-sponsoring this series of interactive workshops and discussions at Mariposa Food Co-op. Though some of these events are specific to Mariposa, all will cover material about the nature of co-ops and Philadelphia in general. All events are free to attend and take place in Mariposa's Upstairs Meeting Room, 4824 Baltimore Avenue in West Philly. For more info, email

Sunday, July 6, 5:30pm–7:30pm
Film Screening & Discussion
Come watch a popular movie about race, racism, food and a neighborhood not unlike West Philly! There will be delicious snacks, good conversation and good company.

Sunday, July 13, 2pm–4pm
Interrupting Isms: Responding to Micro-aggressions Before They Go Macro
With Morgan FitzPatrick Andrews
Do racism, sexism, ableism and other forms of prejudice play out in the places where we work? Of course they do! But these “isms” are usually unintentional behaviors (sometimes called “micro-aggressions”) taught to us subtly by the world around us. This interactive workshop will identify some common micro-aggressions and practice how we can respond when they arise.

Saturday, July 19, 2pm–4pm
Discussion: Race, Racism & Our Co-op
To build an organization that is as diverse and inclusive as possible, we have to make time to talk about how the values of oppressive systems tend to arise in that organization—and what we can do about it! Mariposa Co-op staff members Clarice Bailey and Laura Smoot co-facilitate this discussion about race, racism, power and privilege. 

Tuesday, July 29, 7pm-8pm
Communicating Across Ability & Disability
With Marianne Gellert-Jones
Marianne Gellert-Jones from the HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy will a discussion about speech, communication, and eating based on her 25+ years of working with people with neurological and cognitive disabilities.  

Jul 30 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Co-ops & Social Justice Book Club
Want to know more about co-ops, justice and social change?  Come join this collaborative study project about the intersection of food cooperatives and social justice organizing! This month we are reading Collective Courage, a history of African American cooperative economics by Jessica Gordon Nembhard. Email to join in.

SAVE THE DATE: T.O. Philly teams up with LGBTQ teens at the Attic Youth Center this summer! Come to the Attic's Expo on August 7th!


What does “justice” mean today? 
What could it mean tomorrow?
Led by Mika Taliaferro
PART 1: Wednesday May 21, 6:30-9:00pm
PART 2: Wednesday May 28, 6:30-9:00pm
WHERE: The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street
RSVP: Email "" 
or call 267-282-1057. 
Sliding scale tuition—no one turned away

Join us for this 2-part workshop exploring individual, societal and possible definitions of “justice”.

In the first session we will investigate recent news stories with “justice” featured in the headline. Participants will create pieces of Newspaper Theatre to reveal how the word is used in today’s media and society at large.

In the second session, we will work to re-imagine “justice." To start, we will use Image Theatre to sketch out our own pictures of a more just world. Once we establish a vision of the world we are striving for, we will explore new definitions of “justice” to discover which collective usages will best support the transition.
Mika Taliaferro first fell in love with Theatre of the Oppressed in 2009, when she attended a workshop at Bread & Puppet Theatre in Vermont led by a fellow apprentice. Since then, she has trained, interned and volunteered with several T.O. organizations including Theatre of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB), Theatre of the Oppressed NYC, People's Theatre Project and, upon moving to Philadelphia, T.O. Philly! Mika holds a BA in Theatre from Wesleyan University where she focused on the intersection of theater and social justice.