Theatre workshop uses images instead of words


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville Theatre Arts Department is offering a theatre workshop that teaches participants to use their bodies—instead of language—to communicate and evoke emotion.

    The Image Theatre workshop will be led by Raven Railey, a writer, theater artist and adjunct faculty member at UofL and Kentucky State University. The Sept. 10 workshop will run from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

    Railey will lead participants through exercises to create physical images. The technique can be a powerful alternative to words, particularly when the subject matter is “loaded” or emotionally charged.

    “By temporarily removing the element of language, we can begin to explore abstract, divisive issues on a more human, unifying level,” said Railey. “By making pictures with our bodies, we connect with the issue on a more personal, concrete level. People will say things in images they might be too shy or intimidated to say through words. Or if they did, they might be easily misunderstood because words don’t mean the same things to all people.”

    During the workshop, participants will identify a common problem and then “discuss” it through physical images. Seminar techniques are based on the teachings of Brazilian theatre activist Augusto Boal and his Theatre of the Oppressed and can be used to facilitate communication and problem-solving.

    Railey has taught image theatre techniques at the Pedagogy & Theatre of the Oppressed annual conference, an event based on the work of Boal and educator Paulo Freire to promote critical thinking and social justice. She has also led similar workshops for Convergences Theatre Collective, EarthTones Art, Healing Focus and students at Kentucky State University.

    Space is limited and reservations are recommended.

    For more information and reservations, call Melanie Henry at 502-852-7682 or e-mail Railey at

    Judy Hughes
    Judy Hughes is a senior communications and marketing coordinator for UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing and associate editor of UofL Magazine. She previously worked in news as a writer and editor for a daily newspaper and The Associated Press.