forum theatre meets philosophy for/with children: physically exploring challenging situations in the community of philosophical inquiry


  • zach dewitt Quest University Canada
  • emi kingan Quest University Canada



forum theatre, philosophy for/with children, theatre of the oppressed, physicality, drama education


This paper introduces Augusto Boal’s theatre practices, specifically forum theatre, to the Philosophy for/with Children [P4wC] movement. By connecting Boal’s pedagogy with P4wC, we show how forum theatre techniques can empower child-participants to physically engage in Communities of Philosophical Inquiry [CPIs] centered on challenging situations that they experience. To do this, we introduce and summarize aspects of Boal’s pedagogy, including his theoretical insights and methodological frameworks, with extensive reference to his book Theatre of the Oppressed. We follow with a discussion of some of the connections between the Theatre of the Oppressed movement and P4wC; specifically, we look at these movement’s similar conceptions of the relationship between self and community, and the similar methodological role of both stimuli and facilitators. We end by laying out several ways in which theatre practitioners and educators have used forum theatre with children, and suggest how P4wC facilitators might utilize Boal’s methods within CPI. We argue that Boal’s work offers methodological tools and theoretical insights that can supplement the P4wC movement by creating more physical, creative and inclusive spaces for philosophical engagement. Ultimately, we contend that the unification of these two movements has much to contribute to the ongoing development of pedagogical practices in P4wC. Thus, we call for more research regarding Boal’s methods, as well as other participatory theatre practices, in the practice of CPI.

Author Biographies

zach dewitt, Quest University Canada

Zach is an undergraduate student at Quest University Canada, where he studies education and philosophy. He works with The Thinking Playground, which has links with The Vancouver Institute of Philosophy for Children.

emi kingan, Quest University Canada

Emi is an undergraduate at Quest University Canada with interests in urban planning and education. She has been a part of The Thinking Playground for two years and enjoys integrating theatre with philosophical inquiry.


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How to Cite

dewitt, zach, & kingan, emi. (2021). forum theatre meets philosophy for/with children: physically exploring challenging situations in the community of philosophical inquiry. Childhood & Philosophy, 17, 01–25.