Project Case Studies


Root Shock Forum provided an intimate space for Portlanders, who have been affected by uneven, inequitable development practices, leading to their displacement and the destruction of their communities, to express and share their experiences.  


What is Forum Theatre?

Forum is a form of interactive theatre where a community creates a play about an issue that directly impacts them. During the performance, community audience members are invited onto the stage to propose solutions, ideas, and alternatives that will change the outcome of the play. In forum theatre, the performance becomes a rehearsal for reality, and a collective brainstorming session where community members try out different ideas to explore possible actions to impact issues and change policy!

Forum is part of a body of theatre developed by Brazilian activist and artist Augusto Boal, author and founder “Theatre of the Oppressed.” Theatre of the Oppressed is intended to engage and empower communities to take action — in theatre and in real life. The goal of Theatre of the Oppressed, in Boal’s words, is to “turn non-actors into actors, in the theatre and in society.”

What is Root Shock?

The term Rock Shock was coined by Dr. Mindy Fullilove in her book Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It.  ‘Root Shock is the traumatic stress reaction to the destruction of all or part of one’s emotional ecosystem. It has important parallels to physiological shock.’ Root shock can follow natural disaster, development-induced displacement, war, and changes that play out slowly such as those that accompany gentrification. “Just as the body has a system to maintain its internal balance, so, too , the individual has a way to maintain the external balance between himself and the world.”


  • Community Alliance of Tenants (CAT)

  • Ignorant/Reflections -T Shirt Company

  • Living Stages

  • Design+Culture Lab,LLC