Theatre of the Oppressed gives a voice to the unheard

In forum theatre, audience members, referred to as “spect-actors”, can stop the play at any time and intervene.

Theatre of the Oppressed takes centre stage in Bratislava.Theatre of the Oppressed takes centre stage in Bratislava. (Source: Facebook)

In a play within a play, a homosexual couple are at a Slovak church service alongside a couple of enraged older women. They sneer and spit at the men until they are interrupted by the priest, only to be interrupted by the headmaster, who tells the teacher in charge to cancel the play because it goes against “traditional family values”.

The concept of forum theatre is both simple and intense: during the performance, audience members, referred to as “spect-actors”, can stop the play at any time and intervene by taking the place of one of the actors. However, they can only replace the oppressed, never the oppressor.

On June 16, several audience members morphed into “spect-actors”, taking to the stage after yelling “stop”. One gentleman tried to reason with the teacher as a student, while another woman took the place of the teacher, appealing to the headmaster as an equal by requesting eye contact as she took notes. Although the headmaster didn’t change his mind, his listening skills improved slightly.

The rest of this article is premium content at
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on and

Top stories

A via ferrata in Martin was closed this week. It will remain closed until October 31.

Weekend: Slovak folk songs translated into American jazz

The latest travel and culture stories from Slovakia. We've got you covered.

17. sep

News digest: Passport required when travelling from Slovakia to the UK again

Bratislava Mayor awarded for his green ideas. Pandemic edition of the White Night festival starts. Slovak batteries for e-cars passed international test.

17. sep
Sky by Monika and Bohuš Kubinský

Bratislava is ready for White Night. Here's all you need to know

A manual for the festival and seven sites selected by The Slovak Spectator.

16. sep
Matúš Vallo during the election night.

Bratislava Mayor Matúš Vallo receives World Mayor Future Award

He was acknowledged for his efforts to transform the Slovak capital into a green, compassionate city.

17. sep
Skryť Close ad