Victims of oppression from 18 countries will take part in a 15-day theatre festival which is being held to give them a forum for ventilating their sufferings and using theatre as a form of expression.

Jana Sanskriti Centre for Theatre of the Oppressed will roll off on December 5, the seventh edition of the fest. It is called Muktadhara - International Forum Theatre Festival and it will be held in the city and in various rural areas of the State till December 20. A four-day workshop will precede the festival

“Jana Sanskriti is the first forum theatre of the country which provides the people who are oppressed, an opportunity to represent their problems themselves. The actors on the stage are not artistes but are victims of oppression. Common people are declined political space -- forum theatre gives them the correct atmosphere and audience so that they can speak about their problem,” said Sanjoy Ganguly founder-director of Jana Sanskriti.

Using different case studies - that of domestic abuse, exploitation of worker, communalism and sexual harassment, the director reinforced the importance of indulging the audience in the play by making them analyse the situation and coming up with solutions.

“Members of the audience participate in the act by arguing with the actor, voicing their opinion and coming up with a solution to the problem,” said Mr. Ganguly.

“The forum theatre or the theatre of the oppressed, an idea that was conceptualised by Augusto Bola, a Brazilian, in early 1970, is a means to promote socio-cultural movement to combat oppression,” he said.

“Jana Sanskriti started its journey in 1986 from a village in the Sunderbans and today we have 30 teams of trained artistes in rural areas in West Bengal, Tripura, Jharkhand, Orissa and New Delhi. We are planning to expand our network to other States as well,” he added.