Thesis Title

An Application of Marcus Tullius Cicero's Rhetorical Canon to Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed: a Case Study Involving Southwest Missouri State University's Theatre Peer-Education Troupe, Barestage


Ew Winship

Date of Graduation

Spring 2000


Master of Arts


Theatre and Dance

Committee Chair

Linda Park-Fuller


This study applies Marcus Tullius Cicero's rhetorical Canon to Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed (TO)--specifically to his technique of Forum Theatre. Following my discussions of Boal's philosophical techniques and Cicero's rhetorical Canon, I draw on my experiences with the Southwest Missouri State University (SMSU) theatre peer-education troupe BareStage and a performance of SMS You! an interactive theatre production that ran from February 5-9, 1997, on the SMSU campus. The academic foundation on which this study relies begins with the texts written by Augusto Boal: Theatre of the Oppressed, Rainbow of Desire, and Games for Actors and Non-Actors. I include references to the book Playing Boal - Theatre, Therapy, Activism edited by Mady Schutzman and Jan Cohen-Cruz, a book of interviews and essays written to assist the TO practitioner and theorist. Additionally I draw from Marcus Cicero's works De Oratore and Orator, as translated by J.S. Watson. This study reveals that in Cicero's Canon there exists a more defined model that can be used for creating a Forum performance than what Boal has outlined in his work to date. The study offers suggsetion for further research including the following: 1.) Additional studies are needed to uncover if Cicero's Canon is truly a viable model for troupes to use in devising Forum Theatre scripts. 2.) More consideration should be given to the idea that a cast assembling a Forum performance needs to specify the central question or conflict in the scene as related to the issue explored.

Subject Categories

Theatre and Performance Studies


© Ew Winship