Applied Theatre

The Mandala Center uses creative, theatrical methodologies in our efforts towards justice, healing, and societal transformation – with a deep sense of play and spirit of humanity.

Applied Theatre

SoundGates Practiced around the world, Applied Theatre is a general term describing the use of drama in participatory ways and often in non-traditional settings to address social issues.  It can be described as the use of theatre as a tool rather than simply as entertainment.

The Mandala Center specializes in the internationally acclaimed interactive Applied Theatre techniques, Theatre of the Oppressed and Playback Theatre among other tools.



In 2013 Mandala Co Directors, Marc and Zhaleh, traveled to Northern Ireland as artists in residence with The Playhouse in Derry/Londonderry. Using Applied Theatre techniques (Theatre of the Oppressed and Playback Theatre), they worked with various community groups in Derry, Belfast, and small towns across the border in the Republic of Ireland.  Explorations included stories and struggles around long-held religious and cross-border tensions as well as the ongoing healing from years of violence.



Boal, Augusto. Theatre of the Oppressed. New York: Urizen Books, 1979. (Republished by Routledge Press in New York/London in 1982.)

Boal, A.  Games for Actors and Non-Actors. New York: Routledge Press, 1992, 2002.

Boal, A.  The Rainbow of Desire. New York: Routledge Press, 1995.

Boal, A.  Legislative Theatre. New York: Routledge Press, 1998.

Boal, A.  Hamlet and the Baker’s Son: My Life in Theatre and Politics. New York: Routledge Press, 2001.

Boal, A.  Aesthetics of the Oppressed. New York: Routledge Press, 2006.

Aristizabal, Hector and Lefer, Diane. The Blessing is Next to the Wound. New York: Lantern Books, 2010.

Diamond, David.  Theatre for Living: The Art and Science of Community-based Dialogue. Victoria, BC: Trafford Publishing, 2007.

Emert, Toby and Friedland, Ellie (Editors).  Come Closer: Critical Perspectives on Theatre of the Oppressed. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2011

Schutzman, Mady and Cohen-Cruz, Jan (Editors).  Playing Boal: Theatre, Therapy, Activism. New York: Routledge Press, 1994.

Schutzman, Mady and Cohen-Cruz, Jan (Editors).  A Boal Companion: Dialogues on Theatre and Cultural Politics. New York: Routledge Press, 2006.

Fox, Jonathan.  Acts of Service: Spontaneity, Commitment, Tradition in the Non-scripted Theatre. New Paultz, NY: Tusitala Publishing, 1994.

Salas, Jo.  Improvising Real Life: Personal Story in Playback Theatre. Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing, 1993, 1999.


Freire, Paulo.  Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum, 1970, 1993.

Blatner, Adam.  Interactive and Improvisational Drama. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, 2007.

Fox, Hannah.  Zoomy Zoomy: Improv Games and Exercises for Groups.  New Paltz, NY: Tusitala Publishing, 2010.

Johnstone, Keith. Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre. New York: Routledge Press, 1989.

Moreno, Jacob (author) and Fox, Jonathan (editor).  The Essential Moreno: Writings on Psychodrama, Group Method, and Spontaneity.  New Paltz, NY: Tusitala Publishing, 2008.

Rohd, Michael.  Theatre for Community, Conflict, & Dialogue. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1998.

Spolin, Viola. Improvisation for the Theatre. Northwestern University Press, 1983.

Wirth, Jeff. Interactive Acting. Oregon: Fall Creek Press, 1994.