Image Theatre:

The backbone of Boal's work.Participants create, with their bodies, a shape, a statue, in response to an idea or theme. Participants are encouraged to respond quickly to the idea or theme, without 'thinking too much'. The exercise works best in silence. Image Theatre can be done singly, in pairs or in small groups. Images can also be dynamised, and movement and sound- words and sentences- added.

Participants are often amazed at what they discover about themselves through Image Theatre. 

Key concept:

 Breaking mind-body dichotomy, discovering 'secret thoughts'.

Forum theatre:

A form of interactive theatre that enables a community to explore multiple strategies in response to a problem/conflict presented on stage. 

A Forum play presents a problem, not a solution. It does not preach. It does not judge. It invites spectators to participate in the performance - not through suggestions, advice or discussion, but by replacing one of the characters in the play, and 'acting' in his/her place- that is, by becoming spect-actors. They are not 'acting' in the sense of 'performing', but simply 'taking action' as they do in real life.  Forum is also  an opportunity for people to try out strategies that they may not get an opportunity to try in real life- thus it serves as a rehearsal, and with none of the risks of real life action- it's all happening in a play! And yet, it is all so real.  

This is an extremely popular form of TO . The whole event is coordinated by an "anchor" who is referred to as the Joker in TO parlance.

Key concept: Power of a community and its collective wisdom, democratic processes, critical thinking.

Cop in the head:

Developed by Boal in response to his changing audience in Europe, and their experiences of "oppression" which were often internalised. Using Image Theatre, this set of exercises helps us unearth the voices we carry inside, our own 'Cops', that push us towards unhealthy choices in moments of crisis or conflict. These exercises, which are felt by participants to be therapeutic in nature,  are firmly rooted in theater techniques. 

Key concept: Analysis of internal oppressions 

The Rainbow of Desire:

Typically used to understand and examine unresolved conflicts in interpersonal interactions. The Rainbow refers to the full spectrum of colours lying hidden within a certain emotion, especially in a moment of conflict. A conflict situation from personal life is 'offered' to the group by one of the participants. Using Image theatre, other participants come up to interact with the protagonist and sometimes also the antagonist ,  and uncover the different hues, the multiple dimensions and meanings of the conflict. They also get opportunities to improvise and 'rehearse' the conflict situation. This powerful exercise, which takes more than a couple of hours, allows the entire group to enter into and 'own' the original individual story. There are deep insights to be gained from this intense exploration. 

Key concept: Individual stories contain universal patterns.

Invisible theatre:

A group of trained actors  'perform' in a public place, without announcing the event. Usually an argument develops between two or more of the actors, a 'problem' situation is created , and onlookers get involved, and a real dialogue takes place on the issue .

Totally unpredictable!

Key concept: What do people really feel, think, believe?

Legislative theatre:

When Boal was elected as 'city councilman’, he used varying combinations of all the above techniques to discover what people's issues were and what they really wanted to see as change. This led to the enactment of new legislations - 13 such legislations were created during Boals's political tenure. This form of theater has also been practised in the UK and Canada.

Key concept: Participatory democracy.