Date of Award

Spring 2014

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Liberal Studies


Dr. Jennifer Cavenaugh

Second Advisor

Dr. Patricia Lancaster


In the United States, immigration is feared, criticized, and highly misunderstood. The current immigration debate relies on, and reinforces, anti-immigrant myths. This rhetoric negatively impacts the lives of immigrants, especially that of the 11.7 million undocumented immigrants who currently live in the United States. The first chapter of this paper talks about some of the myths associated with immigration, the situation of many immigrants, and some of the root causes of immigration, including the role of the United States. The second chapter describes Augusto Boal’s life and his Theater of the Oppressed. The third chapter describes the process, challenges, and outcome of the use of Theater of the Oppressed with low-income teenage immigrants at the Hope Community Center. These teens are negatively impacted by the current immigration rhetoric. They suffer the consequences of racism, discrimination, and internalized oppression. Through Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed, the teens have been able to find their own voice and have used it to express themselves, talk about their own issues, and discuss the oppression they experience. The creative process and theatrical activities promoted self-reflection and personal growth, and the teens learned valuable life skills. This process has had a profound and positive impact on the individuals and will certainly, in turn, influence and better their communities.

Rights Holder

Nadia S. Garzon