Community by the different heritage and memories of

Community Theatre

Community theatre is made for and by members of a community.
When creating a community theatre piece it can be influenced or affected by
many different things in the community. It could be influenced by the different
heritage and memories of the community. For example, it could be heritage or
memories from the region the community is from or it could be about an
industrial site that is close to the community that is making the production.
It may also be influenced by and culture on the streets or if the production
company have young people involved it could also be effected by their
experiences. They could also be effect by many different people’s experiences,
for example, they could be effected by if anyone had been to prison and they
may want to share the way they felt inside or the way they were treated.
Community theatre could also be influenced by the way women have been treated.
For example, the way they have been treated in different parts of their life,
like as a child or even in the work place. There are four main aspects to look
at when creating a community theatre piece. These are: purpose, theme, client
and venue.

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Purpose is the reason why you are making and performing the
piece. The purpose of community theatre can vary. It can vary drastically as
one performance could be very serious and another can be very silly and
entertaining. The different purposes for community theatre can include these
examples:

Raise Awareness- This brings alert to people
about issues that may not be well known or not thought to be a big issue but it
actually is. Amuse- This is used to bring comedy to a theme
that is very heavy to make it less serious and more enjoyable to watch. Educate- This is what is used to inform people
about an issue that they may not now about or know little about.Express- This can be used portray different
emotions or to show different theme that need to be explored in community
theatre to.Entertain- This can be used to bring amusement
to the community.Perform- This can be used to express and show
the community the joys and show how people in the community can act.Explain- This can be used to show people a more
in depth look into different issues. Discuss- This is to make people think and then
also talk about the issue that they were shown in the performance.

The purpose can be tailored to meet the client’s needs. For
example, a school will probably want you to do an educational piece, whereas a
retirement home will probably want you to do a more entertaining piece.

The theme in community theatre is what the performance is
based on. It can be based on real life events or something which is pacific to
the client you are performing to.

The theme is determines with what client you are play the
show in front of. For example, if you do a show that is about things that
constantly effect people you can play the show to pretty much anyone who is
affected by that issues, but if you are doing a show about drugs then you can only
perform it to clients that fit that brief. As if you don’t make the theme
appropriate then the clients may be offended or may not understand the message
behind the performance.

There are many different themes that community theatre can
pick up on. Some examples of these are:

PoliticiseCrimeStigmaCyber bullyingMigrantsGay rightsPovertyThings which constantly effect peopleDeathCurrent events FeminismDrugs

The client is the person who will be seeing the performance.
They will affect the whole performance as the purpose, venues and theme all
depend on who your client is.

For example, if you are performing to children then you
don’t want to do a mature theme as they will not understand what is happening.
Whereas with an adult you don’t want to do a childish theme as they would be
very bored.

There are many different clients you can perform to in
community theatre. Examples of clients you can perform to are:

General PublicPrimary schoolSecondary schoolParentsEldersPoliticiansPrisonersChildrenLGBTQ+ Community

The venue is where the performance will take place. It can
be used to add impact to the performance.

For example, if you are doing a performance about crime
doing it on the streets could add more impact as streets are stereotypically
where crime happens. Another example is if you are doing a performance about
bullying it would probably be performed in a secondary school as secondary
school students are mostly the ones to get bullied.

Community theatre can be performed pretty much anywhere that
is legal. Examples of Venues are:

Primary schoolSecondary schoolNursing homeVillage hallsYouth clubCommunity centresTownParkFestivals TheatreMuseums

In the 50’s and 60’s Joan Littlewood pioneered the
regeneration of British theatre. When she started this regeneration
‘Kitchen-Sink’ drama was at its peak. Kitchen-Sink drama is a realistic portal
of what happens in a domestic setting. Shelagh Delany wrote ‘A Taste of Honey’
which she then showed Joan. At the time it was meant to be a ‘Kitchen-Sink’ but
Joan re-wrote the script to make it for the style she was developing. This
style was community theatre.

She wanted to bring the community together by the medium of
theatre. She said “my idea is to open doors to create a community, a meeting
place. My doors are open to anyone, to any prostitute or gangster.”

She brought the American idea of ‘Living Newspaper’ to the
UK. This is where the group got that days newspaper and then reacted the main
headlines. They also came up with an alternative ending to the scenario to show
right from wrong. They then took it out onto the streets to show the people
passing what is happening in the news.

One of her works is a piece called ‘Oh What a Lovely war’
which was made in 1963. It was about World War One and it wasn’t very serious
when it came to the subject of violence. She made a mockery of the war to show
how stupid it was for us to go and fight. The show had a few songs, battles and
also jokes which made the performance less serious and more enjoyable for the
audience but also getting the message they wanted across and getting
information about what happened in the war. She also added a thing called the
Remote control to the performance. This is where someone could shout Pause,
rewind, fast forward or start. And the actors would have to do as that person
said. It was used to bring more comedy to the performance whilst also
portraying what happened in the war. The performance was very controversial as
it premiered in a time of international tension, but it went on in 1694 to go
on Broadway for 125 performances.

A modern day example of what Joan Littlewood did is in a
show called “The Russell Howard Hour” this is a topical comedy show where
comedian Russell Howard uses comedy to portray the news of the week in funny
but informational way. The way this helps get the information across is that a
joke can get stuck in your head and it can have information in it whereas just
saying information doesn’t really stay in your head for a long time. This links
with Joan Littlewood as she used comedy to get information across in a better
way than just always being serious.

Boal developed a process in the 1960’s where the audience
could stop the performance and suggest different things that the characters
could to change the situation that they were in at the present time in
performance. The actors would then act out the audience suggestions. At one of
their performances a woman in the audience was so irritated that one of the
actors could not understand her suggestion for a change in the scene that she
came up on stage and showed what she meant. Boal then took the idea for this
and created what is now called spect-actor. This is where he would invite
audience members to come and act out their own suggestions instead of just
telling the actors.

One of Boal’s most well-known works is the “Theatre of the
Oppressed”. This is where Boal wanted to provides tools that people could use to
explore different collective struggles, examine their history and present
circumstances of their own. Then they could experiment with inventing a new
future together through the theatre that they would be making together.

Boal used multiple different theatre techniques and
different games that could be used for many different things. They can be used
to motivate people, re-establish true dialogue about an issue, be able to
create a window of participation for the audience and be able to rehearse
taking action on what the audience may bring to the performance. He believed
that everyone had the capacity to act but in the “theatre” of their own lives.
That is why they mainly focused on themes that happened to people on daily
basics. He also said that everyone is at one time or another is an actor and a
spectator. You are never just one.

A modern day of Boal’s “Theatre of the Oppressed” is
Cardboard Citizens. It is a UK Professional theatre company made up of only
homeless people. All the people involved with the company have had experience
of or are at risk of being homeless. The company was formed in 1991 by Adrian
Jackson. They did a tour with the company to see other homeless people. They
performed in hostels, day centres, in the streets and many other places.  In 1995 they became their own company and
began touring schools educating them about what being homeless is like.

Comparison & Conclusion

If we compare both Boal and Littlewood we would see that
they cater towards different clients, but also have some similarities.
Littleowood has more of a mockery toward subjects, whereas Boal takes things a
lot more seriously and tries to stay close to the real life issue as possible.
Another difference is that Boal mainly performed on a stage, but Littlewood did
her performances wherever she could. Like with the “Living Newspaper” they did
it in the streets which made it easier for people to see the performance and
see Littlewood’s ideas. One similarity about the two is that no matter what way
they portray the issues they always got the message across and informed people
about the issues at hand.

In conclusion, Community Theatre can be used in many
different ways and when used correctly it can make a real impact in the
community that the performance is shown to. As it can open their eyes to many
different topics that are happening around the area that they live in that they
may not have known about. It is also a good way of bring a community together
and show them that they can act and make a difference to their surroundings.

The Winding Wheel-

Purpose-

The purposes of The Winding
Wheel’s performances are to entertain the audience when they perform to kids.
But when they perform to and older audience you can be more informative and
educational.

Client-

The client for these performances
can be for anyone who is in the education system. They could do a performance
for secondary children or primary school children. They could also do
performances for any other  client who
asked them to.

Themes-

Due to some of their performances
being for kids they mainly focus on the entertain factor for the performances
to children, as it is easier with kids to add in an underlying theme then just
going straight into a serious performance about a deep topic. Kids can lose
focus easily so being entertaining can keep their focus more than just being
serious. But when they perform to an older age range they can do any subject so
they can touch on many different topics.

Venue-

The Venue for these performances
is at theatres. The schools are then invited to come to the theatre to see the
performance. This means that the kids get to experience what it’s like to watch
a show in a theatre. It also means that the production staffs know what they
are working with and they don’t have to change anything last minute, therefore
the children who see the performance get the most out of it as they can be well
practiced.

Types of Projects-

The two types of performance i
have found are:

Workshops- These workshops get the kids involved
and allow them to learn new ways of expressing their feelings in the way of
acting and other forms of performing. Workshops are also a good way of finding
out if performing arts is something they would like to pursue as a career or as
a hobby. It also gets the kids up and active so they are get some sort of
physical benefit from the workshop. Annual Performance- When the production company
puts on a show every year it gives the actors and people behind the scenes to
express their love for performing and creating a performance.  It also allows children or whoever is seeing
the performance to gain an experience that they might not have had the
opportunity to have before.

 

Types of Performance-

The types of performance they do
are Musical Theatre. This is a mixture of acting, singing and dancing. This
mean that the performance will not be flat but will be upbeat as the style of
conveying the word can change. As one scene could be dance and the next could
be acting. It adds more interest to the show. As if they were performing to
kids it can help them to keep them interested.

Open the Book-

Purpose- The purpose of Open the Book is to educate
and inform the people who see the performance.  Client-The clients for the performances are
children in primary school. Themes- The themes which are covered by Open the
Book are religious stories from the bible. But when they tackle these issues
they do it in a child friendly way as children can get confused if the
performance is too advanced for them, therefore they do it in a simple but
effective way.  Venue- The venue that they perform in is at the
school of the children they will be performing to. This means they could have
some draw backs like they may not be able to have as many props as they would
like due to transport and the size of the performance space. This is also a
drawback that may happen, as the space may not be as big as they would have
hopped so they would have had to change the performance to fit the space. But
it also means that the kids may be more settled due to them being in an
environment that they know and feel safe in, therefore they will probably
behave better than they would if they were in a new place. Types of Projects- The types of performances they do are:

Performances- When the production company puts
on a show every year it gives the actors and people behind the scenes to
express their love for performing and creating a performance.  It also allows children or whoever is seeing
the performance to gain an experience that they might not have had the
opportunity to have before. Also as they are an educational production company
it means the children watch learn new things as they watch the performance and
they will probably take that lesson into their life.  

Types of Performance- The types of performances they use are
singing and acting. This is to have fun with the kids and make the performance
more memorable as songs are easier to remember than just a solid acting
performance. It also allows the children to not get bored of the performance by
having songs mixed in.

The Monk Gomery-

Purpose- The purpose of the Eckington Theatre is to
entertain. Client-The clients of these performances can be
anyone the people creating the play want to perform to unless they are
commissioned to do a performance to a certain audience. Themes- The themes that this company covers all
depend on the client they are working for but mainly they don’t cover many
topics. They could possibly have underlying topics. This means that they are
suitable for all ages as they don’t have a set topic. Therefore if they want to
do a child friendly piece they could and if they wanted to do a serious for
adults they can.Venue- They perform mainly in a theatre. This
means that the people seeing the performance get to experience what it’s like
to watch a show in a theatre. It also means that the production staffs know
what they are working with and they don’t have to change anything last minute,
therefore the people who see the performance get the most out of it as they can
be well practiced. Types of Project-The types of project they do are:

Performance- When the production company puts on
a show it gives the actors and people behind the scenes to express their love
for performing and creating a performance. 
It also allows children or whoever is seeing the performance to gain an
experience that they might not have had the opportunity to have before.Workshops- These workshops get the participants
involved and allow them to learn new ways of expressing their feelings in the
way of acting and other forms of performing. Workshops are also a good way of
finding out if performing arts are something they would like to pursue as a
career or as a hobby. It also gets the participants up and active so they are
get some sort of physical benefit from the workshop.

Types of Performance-The types of performance they do are
acting, dancing, singing and musical theatre. These allow the company to be
flexible and let them do anything they really want. It also means they can have
more people involved as they can have people who specialize in different
aspects of performances.  

 

Author/creator

Year
published

Title
of site

URL

Date
accessed.

LA
(PAULA) MOR
 
 
 
 
 
 

2013

Theatre
of the Oppressed, Augusto Boal & examples of work by other Applied
Theatre Companies/Practitioners

Theatre of the Oppressed, Augusto Boal & examples of work by other Applied Theatre Companies/Practitioners
 

11/10/2017

Pat
Thomson

2012

What
is ‘community theatre’?

what is ‘community theatre’?

11/10/2017

Joan
Bakewell

 

Did
Oh What a Lovely War shape our view of WW1?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zws9xnb

12/10/2017

Levana
Saxon

N/A

Theory:
Theater of the Oppressed

Theater of the Oppressed

13/10/2017