Theatre for Change: March Break Theatre Camp

Theatre for Change: A creative March Break program Youth using theatre for social change.

When is it from? March 14th-18, 2016

How much does it cost? It is FREE.

What does it include? 5 days of programming, lunch & snacks

Register now: Closed now! 

What is the registration deadline? Registration deadline has passed!

Some details: The CCGSD & Branch Out Theatre partner for our second year to run a unique March Break Camp that brings together theatre, leadership and social justice. Join us for Theatre For Change and take part in developing and performing a new theatre production that challenges bullying, all the while learning new theatre skills, how to be an ally, building self confidence and making new friends in a positive and inclusive space. No previous theatre experience is necessary.

Who is program for? This program is for youth ages 11-15

For more information, please email: 




What are the dates, times and location of the Theatre for Change March Break Program?

Monday, March 14th-Friday, March 18th, 10am-3pm at 440 Albert st., suite C304
*early drop-off from 9am is possible, please indicate if needed upon registration


Who is this program for?

Youth, ages 11-15, of every gender, sexual orientation, ability, race, culture, religion & socio-economic background in the city of Ottawa.

What is the purpose of the Theatre for Change March Break Program?

The purpose of the Theatre for Change March Break Program is to provide a safe, inclusive, supportive, positive, creative and empowering space for youth to use theatre as a tool for social change. During this program participants will:

  • learn new theatre skills
  • build new friendships and community
  • engage in personal reflection and community dialogue
  • use Theatre of the Oppressed techniques to share and address personal and witnessed experiences of bullying, homophobia and transphobia

The program will culminate in the co-creation and performance of a forum theatre play, for a community audience, that addresses bullying.  The performance will invite the audience to step into the action of the play to rehearse challenging the issues raised and resolving the conflicts presented in the play.

Who is facilitating the program:

This program will be designed and facilitated by Naomi Tessler, Artistic Director of Branch Out Theatre and Artist-in-Residence at CCGSD.

Naomi is a theatre artist, director, popular theatre facilitator and Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner who is passionate about using theatre to build bridges and break through barriers. She has been facilitating popular theatre workshops and projects globally for 12 years, using theatre to inspire positive change.

Naomi completed a Master’s of Arts degree in Educational Theatre from New York University where she had the chance to study with Augusto Boal-founder of Theatre of the Oppressed.  Through her company Branch Out Theatre, Naomi facilitates innovative, popular theatre workshops and co-creates original productions to empower personal, collective and creative transformation. Past clients & partnerships include: Ottawa Community Housing, Psychiatric Survivors of Ottawa, Immigrant Women Services Ottawa, CultureLink Settlement Services Agency, YWCA, YMCA, East Scarborough Storefront, FoodShare, Canadian Auto Workers Union, Youth4Water, University of Toronto Department of Social Work, Parkdale Community Health Centre, York University’s Community Arts Practice program, Macaulay Child Development Centre & Toronto Regional Conservation Authority. For more info, please visit:

In addition, as part of the program, CCGSD staff will also lead anti-oppression and active listening workshops.

What is Theatre of the Oppressed?:

Theatre of the Oppressed engages people in discovery, critical reflection, dialogue and the process of liberation! Through Theatre of the Oppressed we can better understand ourselves, our communities and our world. Theatre of the Oppressed was developed by Augusto Boal (1931-2009) as a body of theatre games, exercises and techniques that use theatre as a tool for social change and offer oppressed communities an opportunity to “rehearse for the revolution” (Boal, 1979). Theatre of the Oppressed is made up of the following forms that are practiced globally: legislative theatre, image theare, newspaper theatre, forum theatre, invisible theatre, Rainbow of Desire, Games for Actors and Non-Actors.


In this program we will use the following Theatre of the Oppressed techniques:

  • Participatory Theatre Games (from Games for Actors and Non-Actors): Interactive games used for warming up the body, voice, building community, exploring group and power dynamics, building leadership skills and encouraging critical self and group reflection.
  • Image Theatre: A Theatre of the Oppressed technique developed by Augusto Boal that invites people to express themselves non-verbally, through creating frozen pictures (tableaux) and body movement, thus sharpening the senses of sight and visual observation. Image theatre is a helpful tool for groups to identify an issue and visualize, step by step, how they can move towards transforming the issue they are working with.  A key component in Image Theatre is the role of the group to act as witnesses and observers of the image created and express what they see within it followed by hearing the thoughts and wishes from the group creating the image.
  • Forum Theatre: an interactive style of theatre developed by Augusto Boal as part of the Theatre of the Oppressed techniques that involves the development of a play based on personal stories of oppression that link to the wider social and political climate. The play represents a worst-case scenario without any resolution. A crucial part of the process involves performing the play for an audience and inviting spectators to become active “spect-actors” and intervene in the action of the play to rehearse possible resolutions; providing deeper understanding of the issues of oppression in the play and how to work through them.

What other Theatre techniques will be used:

  • improvisation
  • storytelling
  • movement exercises
  • monologue writing and performing
  • collaborative creation of an original play (in the forum theatre style described above)
  • Playback theatre: an interactive style of theatre whereby participants share experiences, personal stories and their fellow participants will play them back through re-enactment

When & where will the community performance be and who is invited:

To be determined!

What food will be provided during the program:

Lunch and healthy snacks will be provided throughout the program, we will take all allergies and intolerances into account as we make food arrangements.

What Should I wear and bring to the program:

Wear whatever makes you feel good and comfortable to move in. Please bring a re-usable water bottle.  Please bring something that inspires you to add to our community table.

Is the Space accessible?

Yes, the program and performance spaces are accessible. Please notify any specific accommodations we can make in the registration, or email Naomi (, and we will do our best to make the space as accessible as possible!

What is our longer-term vision of this project:

Our longer-term vision of this project is to continue working with participants in our Stand Up, Speak Out Theatre Project after school program for youth ages 13-24* (*exceptions will be made for younger youth (11-12) who take part in the march break program) to support ongoing skill building and new performance creation and sharing opportunities. Thereby having the opportunity to continue to provide a creative platform- through Forum Theatre- to empower youth to have their voices heard, build greater allyship, raise awareness and address issues of bullying to youth audiences in Ottawa.  Like the March Break program, our after school program seeks to inform and engage the youth public in Ottawa to rehearse standing up, speaking out and breaking the cycles of bullying.

This program is made possible through Community Foundation of Ottawa