«Against a world backdrop where people from Egypt to Wisconsin are once again re-asserting their ontological predisposition to be actors of history, [this book] could not be timelier. The contributors to this illuminating volume re-affirm, through their thoughtful and insightful narratives, Augusto Boal’s conviction that, as humans, we are all born poets; institutions intervene from keeping us from continuing to be poets. The authors of ‘Come Closer’ not only provide readers with a language of critique to deconstruct the social drama of oppression, but they also meticulously and passionately challenge readers to embrace a language of hope that inspires and dares us to unleash our repressed poetry and imagine the potentiality of what it means to experience a fully liberating humanity.» (Donaldo Macedo, Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Education, University of Massachusetts, Boston)
«‘Come Closer’ thoughtfully and usefully provides ongoing reflections, adaptations, and extensions of Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed. Well-structured around three endlessly dynamic topics - possibilities around forum theatre, the role of the joker, and the contexts in which TO takes place - the book provides accounts of practitioners across the world evaluating and renewing TO, at the same time honoring Boal and supporting what so many of us already know - that he was one of the great personages of theatre in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.» (Jan Cohen-Cruz, Director, Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, Syracuse University; Co-editor of ‘A Boal Companion: Dialogues on Theatre and Cultural Politics’)
«This compelling text reveals the evolution of Theatre of the Oppressed initiatives over the last forty years. Grounded in Freire’s ideas of praxis and Boal’s belief that theatre can be a catalyst for transformational dialogue, these articulate authors illuminate how the work takes shape in a variety of contexts, from higher education to public education classrooms, to teacher education programs, to community based settings, to intercultural work. A compelling case is made for the flexibility of Boal’s philosophical frame and strategies to create transformational dialogue across age groups, contexts, and formats, creating spaces where status quo is disrupted and oppression both external and internal is probed, challenged and acted upon. The roles of protagonist, of ally, and of joker, so familiar to us in TO, are considered from multiple lenses. This book is significant for those of us engaged in any transformational practices informed by Theatre of the Oppressed.» (Lisa Donovan, Director, Creative Arts in Learning, Lesley University)
About the Author
Ellie Friedland has been an activist teacher educator, writer, and performer for more than 25 years, specializing in teaching for social justice, and integrating drama, Theatre of the Oppressed, and movement into early childhood education and teacher education and professional development. She is Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at Wheelock College in Boston, where her research and publications focus on teaching anti-bias early education, especially LGBT inclusive practice, in the U.S. and Guatemala, culturally competent teaching and learning, and teaching through drama. She holds a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies/Nursery-Kindergarten Education from Cornell University, an M.S. in Human Behavior and Development from Drexel University, and a PhD in Education and the Arts from The Union Institute in Ohio. She leads workshops for teens and adults in Theatre of the Oppressed for the Wheelock Family Theatre, nationally renowned for its long history of inclusive, community-based theatre. She served on the Board of Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed for seven years and was president of the organization from 2005-2007.