© 2019 by Free Theatre

Dialogue Theatre

“a constant search for dialogical forms through which it is possible to converse”
Augusto Boal

The Dialogue Theatre method was developed by Pongjit and Richard with the Makhampom Theatre Group from 2013 in response to the polarised Thai political conflict that was affecting the social sphere, from regions and districts to organisations and families. Dialogue Theatre is a convergence of image theatre as a dialogic workshop process and conflict transformation which advocates dialogue as an emancipatory methodology.


As an engaged ‘audience-centred’ theatre technique, Dialogue Theatre was developed to reach atypical theatre audiences, specifically those with an interest in the themes and scenario. Dialogue, as a conflict transformation approach, invokes contested or oppositional voices engaging in conversation and this became a theme of Dialogue Theatre - reflecting the diversity of voices, both oppositional and allied, in the composition of audiences. The term “safe space for difficult conversations” signified the challenges in achieving this as well as emphasising the third-person mediatory nature of the characters in navigating the difficult nature of the dialogue. 


Dialogue Theatre emerged as a 2 part form - (i) a play of 10-40-minutes in duration providing scenario (case study) and provocation and (ii) a moderated dialogue process between audience members (numbering 20-50) and characters (ie. actors remain in character throughout). The dialogue may run from 30 minutes to 3 hours in duration. The play offers a form of heightened drama, engaging audience members in the story, both emotionally and cognitively, to connect with and react to the diverse voices represented by the characters. The dialogue is stimulated by the dilemmas of the characters, as they participate in a series of participatory processes towards addressing the issues raised and creating the space to imagine transformations. 
 

Dialogue Theatre Productions

 

  • Shadow of the Moon (2013-14) - by Pongjit Saphakhun & Richard Barber (Mod) in Taiwan & Thailand [censorship and national identity]

  • Drama Sunjon (2014) - by Makhampom, Pongjit Saphakhun (Mod) in northern Thailand [racism within the public health system in northern Thailand]

  • Holding Time (2015-16) - by Makhampom, Surarat Langer (Mod) Thailand national tour [colour-coded political conflict]

  • Singapore Polytechnic productions (2015) - SP students [LGBTQI discrimination in Muslim community in Singapore; discrimination against migrant workers]

  • Australia Day (2016)

  • Makhampom Study Tour 2016 - #WhenInThailand [tourist, ethics, neo-colonialism]; White Lines [drugs, rights, culture]; Get A Real Job [arts, funding, mental health]

  • The Voice (2017-18) - by Makhampom, Ap Piyashat (Mod) Thailand national tour [class & social conflict]

  • Stir Fry (2017) - Fringe 2017 @ FCArts, by Adam Forbes, Ria Soemardjo, Fia Hamid-Walker, Janita Barber, Pongjit Saphakhun, Richard Barber (Mod) [multiculturalism & racism]

  • The Art of Radical Listening (2017, 19) - by Arts Generator team, cohealth [white privilege & systemic racism]

  • South Sudan Voice (2017-) - by South Sudan Child First Education, Victoria University & Free Theatre ensemble, Pongjit Saphakhun (director), Richard Barber (Mod) [youth justice, racial profiling, inter-generational tension]

  • Makhampom Study Tour 2017 - Easter Show [recycling, environmental action]; Walking Street [tourism, volunteering, solidarity]

  • Stirred Up (2018) - by Deng Deng, Amy Corr, Janita Barber, Pongjit Saphakhun, Richard Barber (Mod) [racism in schools]

  • Makhampom Study Tour 2018 - Couch Surfing [homelessness in rural Australia]; Closed Shop [LGBTQI workplace discrimination in Thailand]; #CulturalExchange [volunteering, cultural engagement]; Meet The Streisands [drugs, sexuality, rural culture]

  • Respect the Past, Embrace the Future (2019) - by Respect the Past, Embrace the Future team with Free Theatre [migration, cultural tension, inter-generational gaps]

  • The Artist's Struggle (2019-) - by Free Theatre ensemble (work in progress)

  • Makhampom Study Tour 2019 - The Climate Vote [climate change, politics]; The Voluntourists [ethical tourism, community agency]

  • The Family Dialogue (2019-) - by South Sudan Child First Education & Free Theatre ensemble, Pongjit Saphakhun (director), Richard Barber (Mod) [youth justice, racial profiling, inter-generational tension]

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