Using Theater of the Oppressed in Nursing Education: Rehearsing to be change agents

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Theater of the Oppressed (TO) is used in a variety of setting and communities to explore ways of recognizing and overcoming oppressions. The main purposes of TO is to become more critically aware of oppressions and power relationships, to rehearse alternative solutions for real life, and to ultimately to be able to make change for social justice. This article describes the use of TO in a baccalaureate nursing education classroom as a way to rehearse for real life situations, confronting the status quo, experience positive communication techniques for empowered thinking, and practice their role as change agents within the healthcare arena. The methods of "cops in the head," "forum theater," and "image theater" will be described along with a discussion of how these methods were used in a community health nursing course. Although the examples provided here are specifically for a nursing class, they could be used in any health related field with potential to transform healthcare and ultimately to improve the care experience of patients from the most vulnerable populations.


Copyright 2012 escholarship Publishing, University of California

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Journal of Learning Through the Arts

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Love, K. (2012) Using Theater of the Oppressed in Nursing Education: Rehearsing to be change agents. Journal of Learning Through the Arts. 8(1).