NO MEANS NO: II Ma(g)dalena International Festival of the Oppressed

The Theatre of the Oppressed is an aesthetic method committed to the transformation of reality, created by the Brazilian theatre director Augusto Boal. Madalena laboratory is an innovative theatrical and research experience that uses aesthetic elements, and it is directed to women only to create effective strategies that help overcome their oppressions and that promote equity among the sexes. The beginning point is the female body, which was kept out of sight for centuries and is the marketing window for mass media nowadays. Madalena Laboratory explores taboos and highly sensitive social topics, using art to visualize concrete pathways to outdo injustice and to transform reality.

During this festival, that will take place at Uferstudios 13-17th Semptember 2017, more than 100 women from Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia who practice Theatre of the Oppressed to overcome inequality, sexism, racism and sexual violence will come together. The festival aims to celebrate the progress of our international network and to seek effective means to broaden the articulation between feminist Theatre groups, social movements, and organizations.

Madalena Laboratory Theatre of the Oppressed seeks to respond to the great need of privileged spaces for women to discuss the specific oppressions they face in different contexts. This is meant to be a space where mutual trust can be uphold and re-valued; where women find ways to overcome feelings of guilt, shame, and competition; and where women can confront the silence that has historically hid fundamental topics. Therefore, Madalena groups seek to build up an environment of recognition, visibility and empowerment so that women can reflect about their own oppressions, exchange ideas and support each other in the struggle for new quests and the improvement of the rights that women have already conquered. Madalena International Network (Teatro de las Oprimidas) is a space to revalue and spread the expression of female collectives; it is a space of exchange, struggle and encouragement for solidarity and justice.

Produced by Madalena Berlin Theatre Group with the support of KURINGA – space for Theatre of the Oppressed in Berlin, the festival is an international action of the Ma(g)dalena Internation Network, composed by feminist theatre groups from Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia, for “Ending violence against women!” The festival will celebrate the progress of the network and seek effective means to broaden the articulation between feminist theatre groups, social movements and organizations. We will host individual women and collectives from all over the world with a common link to feminist Theatre actions and performance with more than 4 different native languages and 4 different continent experiences.

More specifically, each day of the festival will focuse on a topic. Feminism and Racism, Violence Against Women, HIV-positive Women Networks and Sexuality, Gender Constructions and No Means No are the daily frameworks where the groups will present their work. Dancing and music performances will also be a key element to the gathering.

In this sense, Reinhas do Norte will give a concert on the closing night and the Forum-Theatre-Musical Nega ou Negra? represents an aesthetic investigation about the socially constructed image of the black woman. The theatre play invites the audience to take a critical look at the “normality” that promotes and naturalized both sexism and racism.

NO MEANS NO, a piece by the Madalena Berlin group, explores the social construction of the idea of gender and its concrete consequences. This Legislative Theatre production intends to expand the public discussion around the current European debate of “women’s no”. In the Legislative Theatre process, the public attends a Forum Theatre piece and, in addition to the usual participation at the Forum session, is invited to submit written suggestions for the creation, modification and/or cancellation of laws related with the topic represented on stage.

On Sunday the 17th, there will be a public aesthetic intervention from Alexanderplatz to Monbijoupark that everybody is welcome to join.


For more information about the program, visit the Facebook event and the festival’s official site.

Photos & Text: Ma(g)dalena Berlin

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