Engaging the power of the theatrical event

Date

2011-09-15

Authors

Weigler, William

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Abstract

In this dissertation, I advance the question of what it means for applied theatre artists to give voice to the community members with whom they work. The study engages with some of the ethical and aesthetic tensions that emerge when one group of people (artists) is entrusted with giving dramatic form to the lived experience of another group (community members). The central premise of the dissertation is that when community participants increase their independent capacity to devise dynamic and compelling theatre, they achieve greater agency. Using a grounded theory analysis, I theorize qualities and characteristics that contribute to the staging of aesthetically arresting theatre, organized into a conceptual lexicon. This praxis-based study is intended to enable applied theatre practitioners to more directly give voice to their community partners. The dissertation presents a vocabulary that offers community participants and professional artists a mutually understood language with which to engage the power of the theatrical event.

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Keywords

applied theatre, theatrical staging, community-based theatre, community-engaged theatre, devising, playbuilding, collective creation, agency, grounded theory, aesthetic arrest

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