Using Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed in a Community-Based Participatory Research Approach to Environmental Health Literacy

  • John Sullivan


In 2002 the Community Outreach & Engagement Core (COEC) program of the Sealy Center for Environmental Health & Medicine and the NIEHS-funded Center in Environmental Toxicology (CET) at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston TX (UTMB) implemented a unique outreach and education methodology based on the pedagogical principles of Paulo Freire and Augusto Boal’s community-oriented applied theatre system, the Theatre of the Oppressed (TO). This project – dubbed Community Environmental Forum Theatre – grew out of the UTMB COEC’s adoption of a Community Based Participatory (CBPR) approach to environmental public health research, with a complementary emphasis on enhancing Environmental Health Literacy (EHL) within project partner communities. The dialogic engagement embodied in Freire’s “democratizing pedagogy” and its mirror image in Boal’s inclusive and multi-perspectival body of dramatic technique have proven effective in promoting EHL via sustainable engagement with community partners in research.


CBPR Environmental public health Environmental health literacy Augusto Boal Paulo freire Theatre of the oppressed Image theatre Community environmental forum theatre Local knowledge Risk communication 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Sullivan
    • 1
  1. 1.Sealy Center for Environmental Health & Medicine at UTMBUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA

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