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Members of a Brazilian theatre group led a workshop with participants from the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Teto - the Homeless Workers Movement.

Brazil: Advanced Techniques of Theatre of The Oppressed

Graduate Study Abroad

The University is continuing to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on future travel. In the event that travel is not possible, Steinhardt Global Affairs will work with faculty on a case-by-case basis to explore alternatives.

Over Spring Break, students will travel to Rio de Janeiro to study the work of legendary political theatre activist Augusto Boal with his son, theorist and practitioner Julian Boal, his collaborator, Geo Britto, and members of the Escola de Teatro Popular (ETP).

This course is an introduction to the sociopolitical activist forms that make up the arsenal of the Theatre of the Oppressed (TO): a collection of games, techniques, and exercises for using theatre as a vehicle for personal and social change. It is a method of harnessing the laboratory of the theatre as a powerful tool for exploring power, transforming oppression, and finding community-building solutions to the problems of inequality, conflict, and injustice. Students will participate in workshops and community-based performances facilitated by Julian, Geo, and the ensemble at the ETP. The course will engage students with contextual knowledge about Rio de Janeiro and the history of the ETP, foundational theories in TO through the writings of both Freire and Boal, and give them a sound exposure to the interactive games and exercises that form the bedrock of this work.

Photo: Members of the Escola de Teatro Popular (ETP) lead a workshop with participants from the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Teto - the Homeless Workers Movement. 

Nancy Smithner

Clinical Professor of Educational Theatre

Nisha Sajnani

Associate Professor and Director, Drama Therapy Program


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Program Dates:

Travel component: March 11-19, 2023

Required class meetings: Feb. 2, March 2, and March 23, all 4:55-6:35 EST

Application Deadlines:

  • Priority Deadline: September 20, 2022
  • Regular Deadline: October 20, 2022*

*Rolling admission continues thereafter on a space-available basis

Who Can Participate:

  • NYU graduate students
  • NYU undergraduate students who have:
    • 96+ earned credits by course start date
    • related coursework
    • approval from the faculty director as well as their advisor
  • Non-NYU graduate students and professionals who are both:
    • U.S. citizens or permanent residents
    • Currently hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States.

Related Areas of Study

  • Educational Theatre
  • Drama Therapy
  • Applied Psychology

This is not a complete list. We value diverse perspectives in our programs and encourage students from other majors and professions.


Students are required to self-register for the listed course per the NYU Academic Calendar for Spring 2023:

  • MPAET-GE 2966 Section 095 (Class# 23124) Advanced Techniques of Theatre of The Oppressed (3 credits)

This course is offered through the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions.

Important Note: All program applicants are encouraged to meet with their academic adviser to determine if and how this course may be applied towards their program requirements and degree completion.


Nancy Smithner, Clinical Associate Professor of Educational Theatre, Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions.

Nisha Sajnani, Associate Professor and Director, Drama Therapy Program, Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions.


Students stay in shared-occupancy housing arranged by the Office of Global Affairs.

Your accommodation arrangements are included in your Housing and Activity Fees.

Group accommodation dates correspond with the program dates listed above.


  • Steinhardt Overseas Graduate Tuition Fee (3 credits) - $6,060
  • Graduate Overseas Registration and Services Fees - $687
  • Housing & Activity Fee - $1,400
  • GeoBlue International Health Insurance - Included

Estimated Direct Cost Total - $8,147

Courses offered by the Office of Global Affairs will have the additional "Overseas" disclaimer in the tuition, registration, and services fees posted on your bursar bill. However, these fees align with NYU Steinhardt's Graduate Study Tuition and Fees for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Tuition, Housing, and Activity fees will be due based on the Bursar's Payment Schedule for the Spring 2023 term.

PLEASE NOTE: Students are responsible for the purchase of transportation and airfare to/from the program location. All students participating in the program are required to live in NYU-provided housing. Students are also responsible for their own accommodations for travel beyond the program dates.

Students will be notified when to book flights. We recommend comparing tickets on multiple sites to ensure the best fare. Past participants have used the following flight search engines: KayakGoogle Flights, and Student Universe for student rates.

Students are encouraged to budget for study abroad programs based on individual needs. You may use online Cost of Living tools on websites such as NumbeoExpatistan, and Budget Your Trip to budget for your ideal study abroad experience.

Learn about study abroad scholarship opportunities.

Flight, Travel, and Visa Information:

Global Affairs will inform participants about pandemic-related travel and entry requirements for their destination. COVID-19 vaccination is required, and testing may also be necessary for departure to and returning from your program destination.

Flight: Students purchase their own international travel to coincide with program dates. Please keep in mind that flights arriving in Brazil typically depart New York a day in advance. All participants are strongly encouraged to purchase refundable flights.

Passport: All program participants are required to have a valid passport, which must be valid at least six months beyond the program end date. 

Visa: U.S. Citizens do not need a visa to enter Brazil. All other passport holders should check their visa requirements on the embassy/consulate website respective of their nationality. For further guidance on visas and other non-immigration matters, contact OGS Outbound Student Services at

Helpful linksU.S. State DepartmentCenter for Disease Control, and Lonely Planet Guide (Rio de Janeiro).

Weather: In March, temperatures in Rio de Janeiro are usually in the 70°s and 80°s (Fahrenheit). Visit BBC Weather to learn more about local weather conditions in Brazil.

Pre-Departure Resources:

Visit the Steinhardt Study Abroad Resources website and get a head start on preparing for your study abroad program experience.


Visit the Office of Global Affairs Short-Term Graduate Courses Policies page.

Apply for Study Abroad

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