Forum Theatre Play Karina’s Story – Fly Your Kite

With newcomer women, I created forum theatre that addressed gender-based violence. The forum theatre served as a community dialogue to open a Summit of Gender-based Violence hosted by Women at the Centre.

Participants' Testimonials

Participants reflect on their 12-week process of creating Forum Theatre to address gender-based violence:

  • I have so much empathy now for people on both sides of the issue
  • Each character reminded me of some parts of my life and helped me realize a lot of things about the members of my family and friends
  • We added a human dimension to the discussion about GBV

The forum theatre approach was powerful and empowering:

  • We created everything ourselves – it is empowering
  • There was flexibility in the way the project evolved
  • You gave us confidence
  • Compassionate and active listening, non-judgemental
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Ending the Silence: Forum Theatre with Newcomer Women on the Topic of Gender-based Violence

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As the lead facilitator of the project – a collaboration between Mixed Company Theatre  and Newcomer Women Services – I created an original forum theatre play with a group of newcomer women addressing the issue of gender-based violence. The play and the following community dialogue were part of Stand-up Women 2020 event – a graduation ceremony of the Sister2Sister Program at Newcomer Women Services, which empowers women to find their own voice.


My own experience of working in forum theatre was life changing so forever grateful to you, Pavla and Newcomer Women Services for that!

— Afshan, participant


Resilient Seniors: Forum Theatre about Senior Resilience and Mental Health

In Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women, I worked with a group of seniors creating forum theatre play about mental health issues that affect them. Anna’s story was a play about a senior woman who lost her husband and in the process of coping with the loss, met many challenges, such as financial and computer illiteracy, family dynamics and lack of support that led to her mental health deterioration. Together with the audience of seniors and members from other community centers in Toronto, we explored the best practices in mental health and the variety of support that is available to seniors in our city.
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Break the Taboo: Community Dialogue about Domestic Abuse

Break The Taboo on Domestic Abuse poster image

I engaged a group of women from Flemingdon and Thorncliff neighbourhoods of Toronto and created a supportive environment to discuss a difficult and often taboo subject of violence against women. I facilitated the creation of an original forum theatre play titled "Caged" addressing the issues of domestic abuse. We performed two exclusive presentations for Newcomer Women Services and Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities and two for invited neighbourhood audience. I generated dialogue about domestic abuse with audience of 120 people. The forum presentations were lively with very active participation, which generated informative and meaningful dialogue. The project was transformational for the participants as well as audience members.

This project was funded by OAC:



I would like to thank “Break the Taboo” forum theater presentation, for encouraging all to look deep within, promoting dialogue & highlighting the impact domestic violence has on individuals. Let's break the cycle of violence, & start the conversation!

— Debbie Lee, Seniors Health Program Coordinator
Health Promotion, Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities


Alternative Approaches to Diversity & Inclusion Training through Image Theatre


This workshop for the HRPA (Human Resources Professional Association), Grey Bruce Chapter, co-facilitated in May 2021 with Afrouz Mobayen, was designed for HR professionals (referred to here as participants) who engage daily in multi-dimensional interactions in increasingly and culturally diverse workplace environments. Such multi-layered diversity is a challenge and calls for a unique approach that cultivates a deeper understanding of what constitutes inclusion and how individuals can play an important role in it.

The approach used in this workshop is Image Theatre, which is part of a transformative methodology called Theatre of the Oppressed. It utilises embodied and interactive activities based on participants’ stories and experiences and is the best fit to address the challenges they face in their diverse workplace. Through this process, participants are invited to actively examine possible solutions and alternative strategies to the challenges (through role-play). The collective wisdom of the group and the individual experiences of participants are honoured by the facilitator who asks questions rather than offers ready-made solutions.

Link to HRPA Speakers page


Past Projects

HRPA (Human Resources Professional Association), Toronto Chapter, Employee Networking Group – Alternative Strategies in Overcoming Challenges in Your HR Job Search, October 2019

TNO - The Neighbourhood Organization – Women Leadership Workshop, September 2019. Bread, Drinks and Storytelling Festival, October 2019

George Brown College – Interactive and Embodied Approach to Conflict Resolution, professional development workshop for ESL department administrative staff and ESL Instructors, March 2019

ClimateFast, Toronto - Climate Crisis: The Struggle to Act on Climate Change, 2018 – read the blog post here

St. Stephen’s Community House, Toronto - Communication Training for Mediators: Body Language and Power Dynamics, 2017

Interchange for Peace, Toronto – Inter-active Workshop for Peace-makers, 2016

TDSB schools – Courage to Act: Bystander of Ally workshop, 2017

Burning Bush, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – It’s My Life: devising original theatre piece with drug recovery program residents, 2015

Blue Bricks, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – professional development training for educators, 2015

Mixed Company Theatre, Toronto – Joking Mixed Messages, a Forum Theatre piece, 2014

Community Access, New York City – developed and facilitated Forum Theatre piece to address issues facing residents with psychiatric disabilities, 2010


Conference Presentations

Action: reaction Conference, Ontario Secondary Schools Teachers’ Federation, Toronto, 2017

  • Led 25 high school youths through an in-depth reflection on how to advocate for others and stand up for their rights in a workshop entitled Courage to Act: Bystander or Ally?

Council of Ontario Drama and Dance Educators (CODE) Conference, Deerhurst, Ontario, 2017

  • Presented a workshop titled Interactive and Embodied Story-sharing as Wellness

Education for Peace and Justice Conference, OISE, University of Toronto, 2017

  • Presented experiential workshop, Transformation toward Equity: Examining Power and Privilege through Image Theatre, to teach student teachers equitable practices design

Mirrors in Drama and Dance; A Journey to Identities Conference, Council of Ontario Drama and Dance Educators (CODE), Ottawa, 2014

  • Created Process Drama – Us and Them, a workshop for secondary educators demonstrating the use of theatre methodology in connecting global political events with social studies and language curricula

Common Ground, NYS Alliance for Arts Education, Albany, NY, USA, 2010

  • Co-presented Taking A Risk: Theatre-in-Education For Curriculum And Decision Making to explore the power of role playing in decision-making situations

Risking Innovation, AATE / ATHE Conference, New York City, USA, 2009

  • Co-presented a practical session titled Process Drama - Practicing Risk-taking for Life addressing the challenges of racial integration in US public school system