Master class with Katy Rubin

Legislative Theatre

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a challenge participating in democracy? Or if you’ve ever been impacted by an unjust rule or policy?

Three decades ago, Theatre of the Oppressed founder Augusto Boal brought a forum play into Rio de Janeiro’s city council chambers, and began using theatre to propose changes to local and national laws. Legislative Theatre is now practiced around the world, from New York City to the Netherlands to India — creative, radical, participatory democracy, based on a foundation of the liberatory ethics and methodology of Theatre of the Oppressed.

In Legislative Theatre, audiences and policymakers watch a play based on the community actors’ experiences with oppressive policies and practices. Then, audiences act onstage to rehearse ways to confront the problems presented, and test new policies in real time. Actors and audiences propose ideas for new laws, rules and policies to address the problems, working together with advocates, organizers, and government representatives. Finally, we vote on new rules, and policymakers commit to immediate actions.

In this workshop, we will use games and exercises to create an original Legislative Theatre play, incorporating political analysis and participatory policy research, addressing an issue that impacts the group. Then we will work through a mock LT session, with a focus on facilitation that flips the power dynamics between policymakers and communities. Finally, we will experiment with new games for pitching and refining policies towards implementation!

For whom

Anyone who wants to spark creative structural change within institutions and systems. Theatre of the Oppressed experience is welcome but not required!

Katy Rubin

is a Joker and Legislative Theatre practitioner based in the UK, working towards a participatory democracy that’s joyful, equitable and inclusive. She’s currently working with communities and local councils to re-imagine policy on housing and homelessness, climate change, and cultural institutions. Originally from New York City, she served as founding director of Theatre of the Oppressed NYC from 2011-2018.


Saturday and Sunday, June 25-26, 2022


Werkplaats Formaat, Westzeedijk 513, 3024 EL Rotterdam


Registration is unfortunately no longer possible, the workshop is fully booked. Second opportunity is a 3-day workshop at Sering in Antwerpen on 18, 19 and 20 November 2022.
More information is coming soon on Legislative Theatre 4 You(th).
In case you want to get involved or have any questions regarding the project please contact Andreia Bessa.


This masterclass is part of an Erasmus plus partnership between Formaat in Rotterdam and Sering in Antwerpen, to develop an innovative tool for youth participation in decision making at a local, national and international level. For more info on this partnership see the project page Legislative Theatre 4 You(th).