This book presents a study that undertakes an examination of participatory practices in contemporary theatre, performance and the visual arts, setting these against the broader social and political horizons of civic participation. It reconsiders the status of participation, with particular emphasis on participatory art both beyond a judgement of its social qualities as well as the confines of format and devising. The book attempts a cross-disciplinary discussion of participation, bringing together examples from the field of applied and community theatre, performance art and participatory visual arts. Gestures of participation in performance indicate possibilities for reconfiguring civic participation in public spaces in unexpected ways. Thus, less emphasis is laid on direct opposition and instead seeking a variety of modes of resisting co-optation, through unsolicited, vicarious or delicate gestures of participation. The book examines the question of institutional critique in relation to participatory art. It moves on to address the relationship between participatory art and the concept of 'impact'. A close examination of one workshop setting using the methodological framework of the 'theatre of the oppressed' in the context of a political party-led initiative follows. The book follows two conceptually inspired performance projects Where We Are Not? and If I Could Take Your Place? Finally, it emphasizes on how common-sense assumptions around audience participation in theatre and performance theory are called into question by the artwork's foregrounding of sleep as a mode of participation.
essay demonstrates that working-class groups
are forging cultural networks of resistance which promise a ‘regeneration’ of
working-class culture outside the institutions – such as trade unions or labour
history museums – in which scholars generally expect to find it.
MaD: an overview
MaD is a self-identified ‘working-class communitytheatre company’ based
in Moston, a working-class district of north Manchester.6 Rob Lees and Jill
Hughes founded the company in 1996, and initially called it Moston Active
Drama. MaD’s new, abbreviated name testifies to the company
This chapter questions mainstream approaches to migrants as tellers of sad stories about their individual migration journeys. With this aim, it introduces performative methods used to de-construct the processes of migrantification through the creation of scenes. In these scenes, the experiences of discrimination and exclusion explored in the previous chapter are acted out and made the subject of collective analysis. The chapter is based on theatrical workshops and performances carried out with participants (who we see as acting as co-researchers in this project) and in collaboration with two community theatre companies: Implicated Theatre (London, UK) and Cantieri Meticci (Italy).
In this broad sweep, Mayo explores dominant European discourses of higher education, in the contexts of different globalisations and neoliberalism, and examines its extension to a specific region. It explores alternatives in thinking and practice including those at the grassroots, also providing a situationally grounded project of university–community engagement. Signposts for further directions for higher education lifelong learning, with a social justice purpose, are provided.
the gestures of participatory art
Unsolicited gestures of participation
Gesture is always the gesture of being at a loss in language. (Agamben,
1999, p. 78)
The theatre of the oppressed for women’s empowerment in India
In May 2013 I spent two days as a participant-observer of a communitytheatre workshop for rural women leaders in the small town
of Karur in Tamil Nadu, south India. The workshop was part of a
year-long train-the-trainer programme using the methodology of the
‘theatre of the oppressed’, which ended shortly before the national
Verma had invited the writer on board
to acknowledge our association across the decades, and for future generations to appreciate this extraordinary, distinctive voice in our midst. Hanif's been a great supporter as we moved from communitytheatre group to international touring company and our breakfast meetings in the Café Rouge are a perpetual goad to strive more!
For Verma, The Black Album had ‘captured events
The complexities of ‘radical openness’ in collaborative
focuses on two strands of the Creative Interruptions project: the first, on connections between historical and contemporary civil rights movements in Northern Ireland explored through communitytheatre and other creative forms; and the second, the work that was undertaken on the political and cultural function of heritage and memory in post-partition Punjab.
Creative Interruptions has been shaped by many of the central and evolving economic, political and cultural trends of the age. These include the rise of austerity, cuts in
Co-creation, theatre and collaboration for social transformation in
reflection, from academic and project co-investigator Michael Pierse, considers the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of the project in the light of a range of responses from audiences, practitioners and participants. Between these three pieces is a salutary consideration of the complexity of and learning from this richly diverse, three-year project and what it suggests, more broadly, in terms of theatre, co-creation and community development in the context of what Hargey terms ‘a deficit of rights’. How communitytheatre enables forms of ‘research’, knowledge
Television adaptations by Peter Cheeseman’s Victoria Theatre company
the capital. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the growth of
regional repertory theatres, many with an alternative vision of what
theatre should be like and a commitment towards providing communitytheatre rooted in the locality. Many important and successful plays,
including Peter Barnes’ The Ruling Class (1968) and Willy
Russell’s John, Paul, George, Ringo … and Bert
(1974), were first
and companies in their daily interactions with
funding bodies and supporting institutions. This is specifically true
of applied or communitytheatre practices. At one point in theatre
and cultural history, especially since the 1970s, these concepts were
uttered by anti-establishment thinkers and stood for radical alternatives to authoritarian models of governance, alternatives that were
imagined in and through artistic practices. Today they neatly dovetail
with the logic of neoliberal thinking (Ahmed and Hughes, 2015).
On the other hand, the ascendancy of