Forum theatre is a part of the greater concept of Theatre of the Oppressed, which is a type of theater that was created by Brazilian theater practitioner Augusto Boal who was influenced by theorist Paulo Freire. In a basic sense, Theatre of the Oppressed seeks to empower marginalized individuals through the practice of engaging, immersive theater in which the audience takes an active role as the “spect actor.”
Forum theatre presents a scenario that contains a character or characters who are being oppressed in some fashion. The play stops after the issue has been made clear and an opportunity for an audience member to jump in and take on the role of the spect actor (one who both watches as an audience member and participates as an actor) presents itself in which the spect actor will act as support to the oppressed person.
Theatre of the Oppressed is ultimately an exercise in changing the world bit by bit; a practice space for people to hypothetically enact kindness towards another person so that they may be inspired to do that same kindness when they encounter it in their real lives.