Interactive Theatre

Using Theatre to Disseminate LGBT Peoples’ Experiences with Assisted Human Reproduction Services

Based on the data from the “Creating Our Families” project, we developed an interactive or “forum” theatre workshop for prospective LGBTQ parents and assisted human reproduction (AHR) service providers. In forum theatre, audience members are shown a mini-play – which in our case included client-service provider interactions – and the audience is given the opportunity to interact with the play, by having members step into the play to change, add or improve what is going on in the scene. We found that this knowledge translation and exchange activity is an effective way to educate AHR service providers about LGBTQ clients’ unique service needs and to empower LGBTQ people to build their self-advocacy skills. Service providers found the workshop engaging, humorous, “positive,” and “realistic.” 

“This workshop was well done and presented realistic scenarios with issues that LGBTQ people face.” – Service provider

Forum theatre is an effective means to capture the emotional dimension of the phenomena under study:

“[It is] eas[y] to understand/sympathize with difficulties when seeing them portrayed by people.” – Service provider

Many commented that the interactive nature of the workshop was effective:

“Creative way to shed light to an important issue.” – Service provider

“Message was brought home in a visceral visual and memorable way.” – Service provider

“The forum theatre experience gave me a feeling of hope… I learned that the research hadn’t just ended up in a journal I would never read. I actually saw my story and many other queer and trans stories out there in a real way.” – LGBTQ community participant

For more information about this project, including who was involved, visit the Re:searching for LGBTQ Health website.

Academic Article:

Using interactive theatre to help fertility providers better understand sexual and gender minority patients, L.A Tarasoff, R. Epstein, d.c. green, S. Anderson, & L.E Ross

ABSTRACT: Objective: To determine the effectiveness of interactive theatre as a knowledge translation and exchange (KTE) method to educate assisted human reproduction (AHR) service providers about lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) patients. Design: We transformed data from the ‘Creating Our Families’ study, a qualitative, community-based study of LGBTQ peoples’ experiences accessing AHR services, into a script for an interactive theatre workshop for AHR service providers. Based on forum theatre principles, our workshop included five scenes illustrating LGBTQ people interacting with service providers, followed by audience interventions to these scenes. Before and after the workshop, service providers completed surveys to assess their knowledge and comfort concerning LGBTQ patients, as well as the modality of the interactive theatre workshop as a KTE strategy. Wilcoxon signed-rank tests were used to determine changes in preworkshop and postworkshop knowledge and comfort scores. Results: Thirty AHR service providers attended the workshop. Twenty-three service providers (76.7%) fully completed the preworkshop and postworkshop evaluation forms. Service providers’ knowledge scores significantly improved after the workshop, while their comfort scores minimally decreased. Most agreed that the interactive workshop was an effective KTE method. Conclusions: In comparison with traditional forms of KTE, interactive theatre may be particularly effective in engaging service providers and addressing their attitudes towards marginalised patient populations. Although the evaluation results of our interactive workshop were mostly positive, the long-term impact of the workshop is unknown. Long-term evaluations are needed to determine the effectiveness of arts-based KTE efforts. Other considerations for developing effective arts-based KTE strategies include adequate funding, institutional support, attention to power dynamics and thoughtful collaboration with forum theatre experts.

Research Poster:

Using forum theatre to help fertility service providers better understand LGBTQ patients, L.A. Tarasoff, R. Epstein, d.c. green, S. Anderson, & L.E. Ross (Dalla Lana School of Public Health Research and Practice Day, 2014)

Presentation Slides:

Improving Assisted Human Reproduction Services for LGBTQ People: An Interactive Workshop, L.A. Tarasoff, R. Epstein, & L.E. Ross (Rainbow Health Ontario Conference, 2014)


Workshop brochure

Scenes from a Clinic: Forum Theatre Helps Researchers Connect, R. Coriandoli (article)

In Honour of Pride Week – Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) and the LGBTQ community, S.R. Cohen (blog post)


This project was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Check out this page regularly for updates about the video that has been created based on this project!

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