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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 political conflict that was polarising Thai society, from regions and districts to organisations and families. Makhampom had long applied problem-posing theatre techniques, but Dialogue Theatre sought to extend this into a conflict transformation form advocating 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, whether interest groups, communities or workplaces. 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 safety net provided by a third-person approach involving character mediating the difficult dialogues. 


Dialogue Theatre has emerged as both engaged process and performance form. The training or workshop process is extensive and wide-reaching, described by four groupings - Conflict, Character, Devising & Dialogue. The process of developing a Dialogue Theatre work is built upon ensemble process, lived experience, character development, physical theatre improvisation, group devising, and dialogue techniques.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dialogue Theatre performance is a 2 part form - (i) a play of 5-30-minutes in duration - a narrative-based conflict scenario as 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 as a curated workshop form to enable high levels of engagement. 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 workshop processes towards addressing the issues raised and creating the space to imagine transformations. 

 

The Digital Dialogue approach is an extension of the Dialogue Theatre method, prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic constraints on live performance. This involves the translation of the Dialogue Theatre play into a screen play and Docu-Drama styled film. The Dialogue process is invoked through video interviews and a range of live and mediated online mechanisms. 
 

A Dialogue Theatre example 
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Moving Image exercise WORKSHOP - CONFLICT SERIES

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36 Hours exercise WORKSHOP - CHARACTER SERIES

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Devising & Rehearsal WORKSHOP - DEVISING SERIES

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Chat Circle DIALOGUE THEATRE PERFORMANCE

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The Play DIALOGUE THEATRE PERFORMANCE

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The Dialogue DIALOGUE THEATRE PERFORMANCE

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