Theatre of the Oppressed


Become a Joker.

For Performers, Directors, Teachers, Social Workers, Activists, and other Cultural Fieldworkers

"...more than a course about performance, it is a course that teaches people about the art of living and responding to the world as a creative being."
- 2009 participant Paul Bishop, Actor and creator of Arts Evolution

Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) was established in the early 1970s by director/political activist Augusto Boal, for people engaged in the struggle for liberation - both against external/societal oppressors and inside their own minds. It seeks to be a "rehearsal for the revolution" for people who want to effect change in their own lives and those of their communities.

The Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble's workshop includes fun, energetic, practical group exercises and forms (including Image Theatre, Forum Theatre, Rainbow of Desire, Cop-in-the-Head and other Games for Actors and Non-actors); plus opportunities to practise Jokering and participatory discussions of TO history, philosophy and pedagogy.

The workshop is led by QSE Artistic Director Dr Rob Pensalfini, who is an experienced Joker (Theatre of the Oppressed facilitator). He has utilised this work with teachers' organisations, primary and secondary schools, universities, community organisations and in prisons in both Australia and the USA. Rob has trained with leading Theatre of the Oppressed practitioners from around the world, including Brent Blair, Julian Boal, and Barbara Santos. Together, Rob and Brent pioneered the renowned Shakespeare Prison Project in 2006, Australia's first Prison Shakespeare initiative.

  • Dates: Five days: Monday July 2 - Friday July 6 2018
  • Times: 9am - 5pm
  • Venue: Geoffrey Rush Drama Studio, University of Queensland
  • Cost: $395

BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL: To book, fill out our handy online registration form.

QSE reserves the right to cancel all or part of this training if it determines that there are insufficient participants for the training to proceed. If this happens, participants will be entitled to a refund for any cancelled portion of the course.


Current scholarship opportunities are available on our Scholarships page.

What participants have said

"Rob Pensalfini is one of the nation's most gifted, generous and talented arts leaders."
- Paul Bishop, 2009

"The workshop allowed me to come to grips with self-sabotaging behaviour that was preventing me from having full confidence in myself and my abilities as a facilitator."
- Rob Reeves

"I acquired a deep trust in my instinctive reaction, an appreciation of the human condition. Each of the exercises that we did increased my confidence as an actor/spectator."
- Adam Cashmore-Brooke

"As a director/teacher, working with games refreshed my 'toolbox' by increasing my repertoire of useful exercises."
- Avril, 2016

"Rob's greatest strength is his willingness to be vulnerable despite his depth of knowledge and that he has lead the course many times before. He brings all of himself to the course."
- Participant, 2016

For more information about Augusto Boal and Theatre of the Oppressed, visit