Liberation Arts: Amnesia, Counter-Memory, Counter-Memorial

  • Mary Watkins
  • Helene Shulman
Part of the Critical Theory and Practice in Psychology and the Human Sciences book series (CTPPHS)


We are in an auditorium in Los Angeles in the spring of 2005 with 700 community activists and cultural workers. Augusto Boal (1985, 1998), now in his seventies, has come from the Center for the Theater of the Oppressed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to explain and demonstrate his latest adaptation of Theater of the Oppressed named Legislative Theater. Boal has been improvising and writing about participatory community theater practices since the 1960s when he was arrested and tortured by the Brazilian military dictatorship and forced into exile, along with many others. In 1992, as part of the electoral campaign of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers Party), he was elected to be a member (vereador) of the City Council of Rio. He decided to invite groups of people from local neighborhoods to come to the Council to present short theater pieces about the difficulties in their lives that new legislation from the Council could ameliorate. With this public testimony in the form of drama, the vereadors then devised new laws that would address the issues raised in order to improve living conditions.


Official History African Diaspora Utopian Dream City Council Member Mass Meeting 
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Copyright information

© Mary Watkins and Helene Shulman 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Watkins
  • Helene Shulman

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