Behind the Shadows: Light.

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Guide released – Behind the Shadows: Light.

Download our newly released GUIDE: Behind the Shadows: Light.

This guide offers a first insight into the world of Shadow Theatre, Theatre of the Oppressed and ways of combining both.
We share our ideas, questions and experiences working on the topic of gender-based violence from queer and feminist positions.
To dive deeper into the topic, find additional resources here:
Get inspired by the video about our process:

The Origins of this Guide

Many threads are interwoven to create the fabric of this guide. Evan Hastings with his Shadow Liberation method has been the first to combine Shadow Theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) to address gender-based violence. Independently, Silvio Gioia (Shadow Theatre artist and pedagogue: and Claudia Signoretti (feminist TO practitioner of Parteciparte TO company: made their experiments with Shadow Theatre and TO around feminism. Magoa Hanke, Linda Raule (theatre practitioner, dance pedagogue and social scientist) and Joschka Köck (TO practitioner and social scientist) from TdU Wien, got inspired by Shadow Liberation and integrated Shadow Theatre into their feminist TO practice. Magoa (TO, Shadow Theatre, somatics, dance, drag: is bringing queer*feminist perspectives and a trauma-aware focus on the power of pleasure into our work. The guide would have been impossible without the warmth and amazing shadow puppetry and light magic of Anusc Castiglioni (Shadow Theatre artist: This guide is a fruit of the journey of our intercultural team.

Thank You!
This guide exists thanks to many people and organisations:

Theater der Unterdrückten Wien / Theatre of the Oppressed Vienna (,,, Telegram channel: is a feminist theatre that combines Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) and somatic methods. TO Vienna’s three pillars are (1) queer and feminist issues including gender-based violence and care, (2) climate justice and (3) the intersection of capitalism and emotional health.

Affabulazione (, is a community-based association and cultural centre. It fosters participation and the arts as a way to reinforce democratic decision-making processes.

Meet Shadow Liberation (,, a globally reputed participatory theatre method blending Drama Therapy, Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) and Shadow Theatre. This method mobilises trauma-informed group Drama Therapy processes which lays the foundation for devising original plays addressing sexual violence, gender and sexuality.

Video by: Ivan Gasbarrini

Photos by: Anusc Castiglioni, Clelia Carbonari, Evan Hastings, Joschka Köck, Magoa Hanke

We want to thank all people whose work too often remains in the shadows: people who cared for the children, cooked while we were drafting, people who did a lot of background organisation and contributed in so many other ways. Thank you for making this project possible.

And last but not least, theatre processes are impossible without amazing participants. Thank you for sharing, daring, breathing, dancing and learning with and from each other.

Research Lab

Here you find the FLYER for our research lab in Ostia, Rome in January 2023.

Shadows and lights are part of our everyday life and evoke a complex spectrum of metaphors: hiding, feeling safe, speaking up, showing the truth, being oppressed, or freeing ourselves. Those shadows and lights will become the center of the international project „Behind the Shadows: Light.“ in which we will research around the topic of gender-based violence in close relationships. In an innovative process, we will interweave elements of contemporary shadow theatre with forum theatre and other methods of Theatre of the Oppressed. The project consists of different parts. Have a look!

A queer and feminist research lab about gender-based violence & creation of a forum and shadow theatre performance.

In January 2023, everything will be under the star of research: in a multi-day method lab, forum theater and shadow theater artists* will experiment how these methods can be interwoven and sensitively used on the topic of gender-based violence. In a 7-day queer and feminist research lab, participants from Italy and Austria will then research the topic of gender-based violence in close relationships and develop a forum shadow theater performance. The premiere will take place in Rome on 13.01.2023.

HERE you find more information about content and participation and an application form for the queer and feminist forum and shadow theatre research lab in Rome, January 2023.

Method Development and International Multiplication Event

The experimentation and research not only results in an artistically innovative and aesthetic production, but also in the development of a method guide. This book enables the multiplication of the new method, and analyzes how the combination of forum and shadow theater can contribute to dismantle taboos around gender-based violence in close relationships, as well as expose societal structures leading to discrimination of and violence against people whose gender or sexuality do not follow heteronormative assumptions. In several multiplication events, these methods are disseminated.

International Multiplication: 12.5.2023 online on Zoom. More information and registration HERE.

Local Multiplication: Performance in Vienna

Our participatory forum shadow theater performance will take place on 23.05.2023 at 8:00pm at Albert-Schweitzer-Haus in Schwarzspanierstraße 13, 1090 Vienna. More information and registration HERE.

How can we shed light and break down stigmas around gender-based violence? How can we open up and engage in dialogue and explore the roots of violence in close relationships? What can healthy relationships look like?

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.

The project is a cooperation between TdU Wien, Affabulazione and Shadow Liberation.

(c) Foto: Evan Hastings