Art is a literacy, our inheritance, and can be used as an alternative media to ask burning, critical questions, so to examine the impacts of privilege that deny a majority their rights, and threaten life as we know it. Art can support the uncovering, discovering, and recovery of new ethics in the face of globalization and Neo-liberal frameworks. Yet, to sustain this approach constant (self) critical reflective action is needed.
Third-Way Theatre (TWT) was founded in 2000, under the umbrella of Takin Up Space Project. TWT work with Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) with communities whose rights have been denied, or who are marginalized in some way. Working by invitation, TWT uses creative methods to support an inquiry (a collective inquiry) into the dominant frame, ideologies so that as a community we can use theater as a critical and reflective dialogue for change.
TO was systematized by Augusto Boal’s work, who was inspired by Paulo Freire. Theatre of the Oppressed offers the opportunity, through an embodied and collectivized process to break enforced silences around un-just and oppressive cultural arrangements. Communities come together to unpack the deepest truth of how the dominant system/ideology impacts on access to rights, maintaining personal and community suffering/violence – often through victim narratives. Transforming these relationships, and finding ways to advocate for change, is imperative in the work of TO. TO is not simply a new artistic / community device, or source of entertainment, or a vehicle to tell the ‘tragic’ story of some ‘othered’, but an exercise of duty and obligation to act in solidarity for change.
Given the demanding nature of the work, and the requirement TWT has hosted opportunities for people to access the experience of international practitioners through training. The training are not about reinforcing hierarchies of expertise’s but are a means to foster, and generate, a much-needed engagement here in Australia, about practice, ethical practice, and how these might be constituted in what seems like the insurmountable challenge to be ‘authentically engaged’.
The idea of a Third way comes from the work of Homi K. Bhabha, an Indian Philosopher who talks about resistance to the process of colonization. The Third Space is the shared space where each human being is involved in an exchange with the other. This exchange is not fixed and creates the possibility of hybrids, an opportunity to escape from the static view of the world as one comprised of duality. Third spaces acknowledge the process of becoming. A movement beyond a marketplace / rational and scientific framing of the world… it is an invitation to remember another world is possible.