Theatre Forum


After successfully using theatre Forum GISDA are acting on a vision to develop and collaborate with agencies, partnerships and individuals that have a personal interest in Theatre Forum to create a project that can be used long term with community groups.

Rising from this vision GISDA, Cerdd Gymunedol Cymru and CAIS with the support from Pontio are collaborating to create a business case to develop Theatre Forum into a self-supporting enterprise that can tutor, motivate and inspire the most vulnerable group in our community.

Through Arts Council of Wales Momentum funding the collaboration through Cerdd Gymunedol has insured finance to run the Theatre Forum ‘Joker’ training during spring 2015. Following this training 5 Theatre Forum groups will be established from GISDA and CAIS service users and individuals from Communities Firsts wards Peblig and Maesgeirchen.

This project will start with training for local ‘Jokers’ as well as creating a county network of Theatre Forum groups. We hope with this project to build a foundation to expand the project to more partners.

Contact Gethin if you’re interested in ‘joker’ training or in the Theatre Forum’s work.

Theatre Forum DVD - Click Here

Theatre Forwm

Theatre Forum crew in Cardiff 2012

In 2006 a group of young people from GISDA took part in a Theatre Forum workshop. By now, the theatre has developed into an exciting enterprise where GISDA’s young people get the opportunity to educate others about the issues that face the homeless. Since then GISDA’s Theatre Forum performances have been presented to audiences from local communities as well as nationally and internationally.

As noted below the young people have performed for many organisations, meetings, conferences and some performances in other countries.

The audiences have been an extensive mix of various people e.g schoolchildren, Assembly Ministers, Members of Parliament, Councillors, Wales Children’s Commissioners, teachers, health workers and many more.

September 2006 GISDA’s 21st conference, Caernarfon
October 2006 Shelter’s conference, Cardiff
April 2007 Meirion Dwyfor College, Pwllheli
April 2007 Ysgol Uwchradd Botwnnog, Botwnnog
April 2007 Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen, Caernarfon
May 2007 Wales National Conference, Cardiff
May 2007 Grassroots Centre, Cardiff
September 2007 GISDA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), Caernarfon
December 2007 Llamau conference, Cardiff
March 2008 Youth Exchange, Portugal
September 2008 GISDA AGM Caernarfon
October 2008 Wales National Conference, Cardiff
October 2009 Mantell Gwynedd’s Funders Fair, Llanberis
November 2009 ‘Wythnos Ni Conference- Gwynedd’, Bangor
November 2009 Leaving Home Conference, Shelter Cymru, Cardiff
December 2009 Gwynedd Children and Young Peoples Partnership Network, Caernarfon
April 2010 Gwynedd Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership, Bangor
March 2010 Ysgol Uwchradd Moelwyn, Blaenau Ffestiniog
March 2010 Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen, Caernarfon
June 2010 Children and Young People’s Partnership together with Heads of department of Gwynedd Council
July 2010 Theatre Forum Sin Telón Festival, Barcelona, Catalonia
October 2010 Safeguarding Children Co-ordinators, Secondary schools, Porthmadog
November 2010 Wythnos Ni Gwynedd, Glynllifon

In the 70’s a director from Brasil, Augusto Boal, founded the Theatre Forum method. An international theatre with educational techniques, for people to take an active part in our communities in order to tackle oppression. It has been used world-wide to discover answers to problems, influence legislation and to stimulate people to strengthen societies for the better.

The Theatre Forum method is used by GISDA’s youth to convey on the stage their personal experiences of homelessness. It’s important to note that the young people develop the theatre’s content, characters, story and script.

GISDA’s Theatre Forum aim is to campaign for and to stimulate a “social change” by encouraging people from the audience to work with the characters on the stage to try and offer different methods, ideas and possibilities to overcome and prevent homelessness.
There is no two ways about it, that taking part in a performance has a positive effect on the development of the individual, such as:

  • Improve self-confidence and self-awareness
  • Voice opinions confidently and to challenge other’s views confidently
  • Understand body language by responding to different emotions – bodily expression
  • Strengthen co-ordinated movements and sensitivity of the senses
  • Work both individually and as part of a team
  • Show oppression through the medium of acting and drama

  • Theatre Forum is recognised by the United Nations through UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) as a positive method that encourages “Social Change”
    Osian Elis, Theatre Forum Facilitator

    “Theatre Forum is a mode of information: it should, and can also be, a method of transforming society. Theatre Forum can help us to build our future, instead of waiting for it.”
    Augusto Boal – Founder of Theatre Forum

    “For me Theatre Forum is one of the best things I have ever done. When I first wanted to do it I was so scared of being in front of a live audience, but after we did the performance in Barcelona I loved it so much the buzz I had after it was incredible. The thing that made me love it so much was when members of the audience came up and swapped places with the main character and that was excellent. Also, we only got a few days to practice but when it came together it was incredible. When I got the opportunity to do it again I didn’t hesitate in doing it. I love every minute of it and for me, the Theatre Forum has totally changed me as a person and for that I am grateful.”

    “My name is Anthony; I’m 21 years old and currently living in GISDA's supported accommodation in Blaenau Ffestiniog. I was excited when I heard I could do theatre work, I like acting and was grateful for the chance to take part in the forum theatre workshop. When Osian said on Monday that he would get us all to do a performance by the end of the week I wasn’t sure, but true to his word we had a good performance by Friday. The first performance was in front of 12 people, since then we have performed 4 times, for over 300 people, we have received good feedback. We are going to London next month which will be a great experience, as this will be my first time in London. Forum theatre has shown me I can be confident in front of big crowds, it has also given me the confidence to apply for work as a disc-jockey.”
    Anthony Lee Williams

    “My name is Ben and I’m 17 years old. I live in GISDA in Blaenau Ffestiniog. I am currently taking part in forum theatre, I love doing it because it makes me feel amazing!!! In the future I would like my job to be a full time actor doing forum theatre.”

    “My name is Ben, I’m 24 years old. Having no work in Manchester, in 2008 I followed my family and moved to Caernarfon. I had no success in finding work and I became homeless. thankfully GISDA gave me a place in a hostel in Caernarfon. Through GISDA I was introduced to forum theatre. At first I wasn’t interested but I went along to the workshop as I was interested in finding out more. After the first performance I had never felt so proud of myself and the group I worked with. Now I can’t get enough and would love to expand the theatre and bring my skills to full potential on the stage.”

    “My name is Kelsey and I’m 17 years old. I have been with GISDA since June 2010. I started taking part in forum theatre in November 2010; I heard there was £5.00 dinner money so I went along to the workshop. At first I thought it was cheesy, childish and embarrassing! When I saw everyone else taking part I felt more confident, everyone in the group gets on really well and we understand each other. When I perform I forget everything, all my worries and I feel happy doing it. It’s good to teach others - it has also taught me what I should do in difficult situations. I would like to carry on doing forum theatre and maybe one day I could be employed to perform. I would also like to be the joker in the theatre!”

    “My name is Emma; I’m 24 years old and currently living in Blaenau Ffestiniog where I’m housed in a flat by GISDA. I have been with GISDA since March 2010 after a bad relationship breakdown with my ex. Through GISDA I started taking part in forum theatre. When I first started forum theatre I was scared and nervous and thought to myself that there was no way I’d be able to do it. I got so emotional I started to cry, and then Osian talked to me and gave me a bit of confidence to carry on doing forum theatre.
    The first time I ever did the performance was in front of council workers I was so nervous but was so glad to have taken part – it also started to bring my confidence back. When I heard that 5 of us were going to Barcelona I was so excited, my first time abroad. For me, it was a chance to meet new people and perform to a wider audience. It was a bit scary at first in front of all the people but once I got into my character on stage it felt good. It was good to see the reaction from the audience, some of them were crying following our performance – it was all very emotional. It was a shame that we had to return home. I was lucky enough to be asked again to take part in forum theatre, nearly a year later. I hope to have a future doing forum theatre work; it’s a good confidence boost and a brilliant way to meet new people.”

    I am always proud to support Gisda’s valuable work, which is vital and unique in the area. The adventurous work in all aspects of the experience of young people facing homelessness is particularly valuable. It would be easy enough to limit their work to housing issues. But by working with groups such as Forum Theatre they respond to young people as people, not as causes. I congratulate GISDA and Forum Theatre on the job and hope it will continue and strengthen. '
    Hywel Williams AS

    'One of the most striking experiences of the summer for me personally was to see performance on homeless young people, by Gisda’s young people in Caernarfon in the form of Theatre Forum which is street theatre or theatre happening in the community.
    As it turns out, I saw the performance twice, one day during training of the Children and Young People in Bangor and then in session for chief officers and those of Council Members Elected lead. The performance impressed me both times alike.
    As youth homelessness is a contemporary problem, and one we cannot deny responsibility towards, the stories and drama portrayed real situations. It was disturbing to the audience; experience through theater and was almost in your face, and then the direct interaction, pain and trials negative cohort of our young people.
    As there is no illusion of reality created through the performance, it was a trigger for the Council to review its pledges itself to young people today and to insist that its services are dealing with the problems of the day by addressing the individuals that are stuck in cycles that need to be broken. Codification is not the answer but listening, understanding and responding needs.
    Forum Theatre was able, through the presentation on homelessness, to depict reality circumstances honestly and openly knocking on the door of conscience of us all at the same time. '
    Dewi Jones, Head of Education Gwynedd Council

    “It is a pleasure to record my thanks for both times that I have been part of the Theatre Forum performance. A great way to raise awareness of problems that young people come across when trying to live their lives. The repsonse from those in the “audience” were extremely interesting and effective, hopefuly a lesson about how to deal with young people in the future, but most importantly, the lack of information (which is necessary) and also the ways of sharing information.
    I have a quarter century experience as a counselor, a mother of three and now a grandmother to ice, having said this I learned a lot more by listening to Theatre Forum and indeed, they successfully managed to embarrass me that maybe I had not realized the ways in which young people sometimes are treated.
    Another thing I learned was we do not listen carefully enough at each other, and also we as older people and those in “authority” assumes that the younger generation understand what we’re talking about.
    Keep up the important work for the benefit of those to follow
    Good Luck to the future!
    Counselor Gwen Griffith

    The Theatre Forum performance is emotional of mimicking the mind, and more powerful because of the fact that the issues that are being discussed reflect actual life experiences of the young people who took part. The performance is seen through the eyes of young people and highlights the problems along with negative attitudes and prejudice that they face from time to time. The performance motivates you and makes you re-evaluate your opinion towards young people.
    Sheila Phillips – Supporting People Gwynedd Council

    The Forum Theatre performance from Gisda’s young people really impressed me. The performance was able to get some very important messages over – in a simple and clear way. It was nice to hear first-hand about the experiences of young people through the Forum Theatre – and also nice to see the young people have the confidence to do so before an audience. It is different but highly effective to let others know about young people’s emotions ad ideas.
    Iwan Trefor Jones, Gwynedd Council’s Co-operate Director

    I saw The Theatre Forum’s performance from Gisda’s young people during their 21st birthday celebrations in the Galeri Caernarfon. There was an effective collaboration between the young people and Gisda’s saff and their enthusiasm was very evident and impressive. By using Theatre Forum the message was passed on to the audience in an extremely effective way. I still remember the performance 5 years on.
    Rhian Williams, Clwyd Housing

    I would like to congratulate Gisda and the young people for what they have done through Theatre Forum, when I saw the production it was clear that it was a great way of getting the young people to share their experiences publicly. I feel it is valuable in itself and of course valuable to others who might have a better understanding of the situation of young people here. It was all worth it and congratulations and best wishes to the young people in the future.
    Alun Ffred Jones, Assembly member



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