Conflict Theatre@UBC

We are bringing an embodied approach to building conflict engagement skills that will allow you to find better ways to handle and practice difficult conversations. Conflict isn’t just an intellectual exercise and neither is Conflict Theatre.

Conflict Theatre uses techniques to practice constructive engagement with conflict and gain the courage we need to do so. It is a collaboration between Human Resources and the Department of Theatre and Film.


Through Conflict Theatre sessions, you and your team will develop:

  • Increased self-awareness that encourages reflection and conscious choices
  • Increased other awareness—the emotional intelligence necessary to understand and anticipate other people in conflicts
  • Increased systems awareness that puts broader challenges of institutions in context during conflict
  • More behavioural and emotional self-regulation for better relationship management
  • A workplace environment where there is more space to consider your choices the next time you are in a conflict, rather than simply reacting

Bring us to your team     

Book a performance, skill-development session, or an intensive. You choose your own level of engagement and time commitment based on your unit’s needs. Check out our program video above to see what our work can look like.


What if you could re-play a difficult conversation over and over, seeing how it might be changed if you just did one thing differently? Maybe you already do this in your head before (or after) a conflict. In Conflict Theatre performances, we do this on stage to provide new insights and try out new strategies in a safe space.

  • Come witness UBC stories of conflict developed and acted by UBC staff and faculty
  • Replace characters and try your own strategies
  • Intervene and change the narrative
  • Available in 60 – 120 minute sessions

Skill-Development Sessions

  • Use image theatre to unpack complex emotions
  • Learn embodied and experiential modes of engaging courageously with difficult situations
  • Gain new insights to strengthen your team dynamics
  • Receive a customized experience based on what you want to address as a team.
  • Available in 2 hours – multiple day sessions


  • Practice conflict engagement in a safe space
  • Explore your stories of conflict and build an original play
  • Perform your interactive play for your community
  • Discover what is holding you back from communicating authentically and productively
  • Try new ways to overcome these blockages
  • Learn a new shared language to engage constructively with conflict as a community
  • Weeklong intensive with a minimum of 12 participants

Don’t know what to pick? Contact us at, and we will be happy to help with your decision-making by providing more information and discussing your desired outcomes.

About the approach

Conflict Theatre uses forum theatre techniques established by Brazilian activist Augusto Boal (Theatre of the Oppressed), developed by Vancouver’s David Diamond (Theatre for Living), and specifically tailored to the UBC workplace by Professor Tom Scholte of the Department of Theatre and Film in collaboration with Human Resources.

Forum theatre is a type of performance that arises from the life of a community and it can be used as a tool to engage with difficult situations. In forum theatre, a play is created by community members during intensive workshops, and performed by them, not professional actors. The play tells a story based on real  events. During a performance, the play is presented to an audience, who is then welcomed to intervene in the scenes to explore how the story might play out differently. Through this interactive process, forum theatre provides a unique opportunity to rehearse courage and apply new strategies to real problems.


Conflict Theatre is a UBC Human Resources project that uses embodied and experiential methods to theatre to transform how we engage in conflict. It was introduced in 2011 to allow UBC employees to incorporate the principles of UBC Respectful Environment Statement into our day-to-day difficult conversations and high-stakes conflicts. Since then, the approach has been successfully integrated into the Managing@UBC and Academic Leadership Development Program.

Contact Information

Phone: 604-822-3218