Forum Theatre - helping young people with conflict resolution

Hammersmith and Fulham EBP’s Forum Theatre training in September, for professionals working with young people, is very timely indeed. There have been suggestions in recent days that the young people across inner-city Britain who participated in the riots had lost their moral compass. A protest about the death of a man in Tottenham spiralled into country wide frenzy of looting and violence that bore little connection to its initial spark.  

Clearly, the acts of wanton vandalism and petty theft that we have recently experienced are inexcusable and we need to ensure that our young people do not follow in the footsteps of a very small minority of their peers.  

Boal’s Forum Theatre method may help us to get through to young Londoners at risk of excluding themselves from society by getting a permanent criminal record. In giving young people the opportunity to act out scenarios from their lives that cause tension between them and their parents, teachers or wider adult society, we hope young people can be steered away from some of the activity that played out on our streets this week.  

Providing professionals with new competencies in Forum Theatre will increase the chance of reaching the young people through alternative methods, and thereby positively influence them to become a part of society and contribute positively to building a democratic community.

 Diana Edgecombe, manager at the EBP, thought that the training could not be more timely.

“If we can get our education professionals to use the Forum Theatre method with young people we might help to diffuse some of the tension seen on our streets in recent days. Our young people need to realise that there are huge consequences for decisions made in haste to participate in acts of looting and criminal damage. In acknowledging the destructive impact of such actions on others and wider society we hope they will understand the greater pleasure and self respect that can be derived through working with their community, rather than against it.”