Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) methodology promotes sustainable conflict prevention at the community level through a participatory theatre methodology called Drama for Conflict Transformation (DCT). MAP aims to use this methodology to create a group of empowered youth and supportive adults who are equipped to lead community-based conflict resolution activities—sharing DCT techniques within their larger communities through arts-based MAP clubs, cultural workshops and Training of Trainers (TOT).
About the Methodology
Interactive theatre is a flexible set of games, exercises, and techniques that are used to create dialogue about issues of concern to a community. Interactive theatre is sometimes called “participatory theatre” or “community-based theatre,” or when it is applied to work with conflict issues, “Drama for Conflict Transformation.”
Interactive theatre has been used in over 70 countries in North, Central, and South America, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Australia. It has been used in urban areas and in rural ones, and in diverse settings such as schools and universities, rehabilitation centres, orphanages, jails, and community development programs.
Interactive theatre techniques come from a wide range of sources including theatre games, theatre for development, and applied theatre. However, the techniques all have in common their use as participatory methods for communities to identify their needs and to work together towards change.
Various techniques in this manual, including Image Theatre and Forum Theatre, have been specifically developed from a Brazilian practitioner named Augusto Boal. As the director of the Arena Theatre in Sao Paulo from 1956-1971, Boal created a genre of theatre called ‘Theatre of the Oppressed.’ After a military coup in 1968, Boal developed exercises to engage the populace to create their desired future by staging and rehearsing problems they faced and their potential solutions.
MAP techniques and exercises
Among some of the methods were Image Theatre and Forum Theatre, both theatrical devices which establish dialogue and community problem solving.
Image Theatre: Image theatre was developed by Brazilian director Augusto Boal as a response to government censorship. This technique allows people to use images (frozen tableaux or ‘statues’) to explore real and ideal situations in their lives and communities.
Forum Theatre: Boal created Forum Theatre in an effort to break down the “invisible wall” between the actors and audience in theatre. The goal is for audience members to develop action plans towards the resolution of actual personal conflicts through dramatic interventions. The spectator of the drama does not only watch the performance, but also acts – becoming what Boal called the ‘spect-actor’.
Playback Theatre: originated in the 1970’s, integrating elements of storytelling, ritual, and psychodrama into a participatory form of theatre. The form is based on sharing personal stories, and having the stories ‘played back’ by a group of trained Playback performers.
Examples of MAP exercises
This page features video demonstrations of MAP exercises from our team of MAP Co-Investigators. In May 2020, Co-Investigators visited the University of Lincoln to launch the MAP Network Plus project and to develop the MAP manual. The MAP manual will be translated in local languages in Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Indonesia and Rwanda.
The following instructions are taken from the MAP and are accompanied by video demonstrations from our MAP Co-Investigators.
Purpose: Practice pantomime and introduce characterization.
Length: 30 minutes
Number of Participants: 6 or more Age Level: 8 and up
- Divide participants evenly into two lines and direct the lines to stand about twenty feet apart, facing each other.
- Instruct the participant teams to secretly decide upon a trade or occupation to act out for the other team to guess.
3. After the two teams have decided upon their occupation, instruct them to return to their line, facing the opposite team.
4. Instruct the teams to repeat the following lines and for the first team to begin: First team: “Here we come.” Second team: “Where from?” First team: “New York.” Second team: “What’s your trade?” First team: “Lemonade” Second team: “Give us some if you’re not afraid”.
5. After the participants have learned their dialogue, direct each team to simultaneously take one step forward as they say their line of dialogue.
6. Explain that after saying the final line, “Give us some if you’re not afraid,” the first team should act out their trade or occupation. The second team must then try to guess the trade that the first team is acting out. The first team should continue to pantomime until the first team guesses the correct answer.
7. Once the second team calls out the correct answer, direct second team participants to try to tag members of the first team, who in turn must try to run back to their starting line without being tagged. Anyone who is tagged must join the second team.
8. Direct the second team to quietly share their agreed upon trade with any new members, allow the teams to repeat the dialogue above. This time however, the second team should start the dialogue and call out the lines that the first team used in the previous round.
9. Ensure that both teams are allowed the same number of turns. The team which has the largest number of players at the end wins.
Purpose: To explore personal feedback/evaluation in pairs, and to define the most useful/challenging aspects of the workshop.
Sequencing: In addition to its usage here as a lead-in activity, Musical Dialogue can also be used as a closing exercise to help a group process and discuss a prior activity or workshop. (See Side-Coaching for more a description of how Musical Dialogue was used to process the period between two summer camp events.)
Length: 20 – 60 minutes Number of Participants: 6 or more
Age Level: All levels
Materials/Props: Music player and music recordings (or musical instruments, such as a drum).
- Begin the exercise by playing music in the background. Direct participants to move through the space, and provide cues to add variation (e.g. “move as fast/slow as you can,” “shake hands with anyone that you meet,” “make eye contact with everyone in the room”).
2. After a few introductory cues, state that as soon as you turn off the music, they must join elbows with the person nearest to them.
3. When the music has stopped and participants have created pairs joined at the elbow, provide a guiding question for discussion, such as: “What was the most useful part of the workshop for you?” Allow the pairs to take turns sharing their feedback with their partner. After a few minutes, start the music again.
4. Stop the music again, and direct the participants to join kneecaps with the person nearest to them (not the same as their initial partner).
5. Provide another guiding question, such as: “What was a happy moment for you in the past year?” Allow the pairs to take turns sharing their feedback.
6. After a few minutes, play the music again.
7. Repeat this exercise with new partnering poses (ex. back to back, foot to foot) and new guiding questions (e.g. “What was a sad moment for you in the past year?”)
8. After a few minutes, ask the group to sit in a large circle and share some of their responses to the questions.
Side Coaching: You may adjust this exercise to utilize whatever body parts are most appropriate to touch in the local cultural context. If touching is not appropriate, participants may simply stand next to a partner when the music stops.
Purpose: To push participants out of their comfort zones; to explore power dynamics and the roles of leader and follower.
Length: 20 minutes Number of Participants: 6 or more Age Level: 12 and up
- Ask the group to stand in a circle; you may wish to separate circles by gender if more culturally appropriate.
2. In order to build connections between participants, ask them to look one another in the eye. They should not only make eye contact with everyone in the circle, but also ‘witness’ one another, actually taking in and connecting with the other person.
3. Following the introductory eye contact exercise, instruct participants to partner with someone they have not worked with yet, or – for whatever reason – feel a little bit uncomfortable with. They should choose a partner that they need to get to know better.
4. Once in pairs, one participant is labeled as Participant A, the other as Participant B. Instruct the A participants to place their hands about six inches away from the faces of the B participant.
5. Participant B must follow the movement of the Participant A’s hand, as if there is a string attached between the palm of A’s hand and B’s nose. Participant A will lead participant B around the room, changing from high to low levels, moving backwards and forwards. Call “freeze” after a few minutes and ask the participants to switch so that Participant B leads Participant A.
6. If using this exercise with trainers, demonstrate how this activity can be used as a possible lead-in for image theatre. Using one of the pairs as a model, call out freeze while the pair is in the middle of a motion. Ask the other participants what the image of the pair reminds them of. Who are the characters? What is their relationship? What is the possible story illustrated by the frozen image?
This exercise was originally created by Brazilian theatre practitioner and activist Augusto Boal and called Columbian Hypnosis. He used the technique to break down various ‘oppressions’ that are maintained in the body, by stretching participants to move outside their normal physical comfort zones. The exercise can also be used for participants to explore what it feels like to lead, and to Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) 94 be led. The facilitator can conduct a post-exercise discussion to explore participants’ relation to the exercise.
MAP Manual and Exercises
Ubwuzu enabled the creation of a Cultural Artist Network and Youth Advisory Board to inform the design, delivery and implementation of MAP.