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Alkazi Theatre Archives

A Bibliographic Listing From The Archive

Theatre and Empowerment: Community Drama on the World Stage

Book: Theatre and Empowerment: Community Drama on the World Stage
Edited by: Richard Boon and Jane Plastow (English)
Published by: Cambridge University Press, 2004

Reading from a multicultural perspective, this book explores the role of performance as an agent of social change, and argues through a close examination of the success — not always complete — of specific projects in both practical and cultural contexts. Practitioners and commentators inquire as to how performance in its broadest context can play a part in community activism by helping communities find their own creative voices.

The book explores varied answers to how performance can play a part in community activism as experienced in different geographical communities situated within specific socio-cultural realities, postulating performance as a vital agent of initiating and leading social change. The authors validate the central premise of the book through close examination of practices reading case studies of communities in Ethiopia and the Indian subcontinent, disenfranchised Native Americans in the USA and young black men in Britain, victims of violence in South Africa and Northern Ireland, and a threatened agricultural town in Italy.

“In my work as a practitioner using theatre and performance, this approach has been empowering in a workshop context, where Forum Theatre deconstructs collective oppression as a means of finding group solutions. And in the context of unpacking representations of black masculinities, Forum Theatre has a relevance in identifying the execution of oppression in terms of institutionalised racism in the British education system, the labour market, the police, housing, Social Services, and so on, and in formulating strategies of resistance. But Forum Theatre offers only a two-dimensional expression of more complex psychological dynamics where, for instance, oppression has been internalised.” (page 65)

Theatre and Empowerment