Why 'free' theatre? Is it providing free performance? Certainly many of the Free Theatre performances are free-of-charge, but the name was chosen to reflect the liberating potential of theatre and the context behind its foundation.
Free Theatre was founded by the family team of Pongjit Saphakhun, Richard Barber, and Janita Barber in 2015, having returned to live in Melbourne after 12 years with the Makhampom Theatre Group in Thailand. At this time, Thailand was under dictatorship, with artists and civil society being suppressed, including Makhampom, making freedom of expression a process of struggle.
Free Theatre's practice is drawn from the body of knowledge and experience in Thailand and throughout the Asia-Pacific region. This involves the coalescence of theatre arts practice, community development, inter-cultural process, and conflict transformation methodology, developed in villages, universities, factories, prisons, schools, and war zones.