Borders of the artist in applied theatres: This is what theatre can be

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther


When does a participant become an artist? What are the borders between roles in community and professional collaboration? Co-creation is increasing used to make theatre performance for public audiences. As a result, community participants become artists, throwing up questions relating to status, power, identity, ethics, inclusion and respect which are familiar in applied theatre contexts. How can practice and scholarship appropriately acknowledge and build the skills and experiences of artist/participants? This presentation draws on the work of Theatre Company of Sanctuary, Curious Monkey to explore the potential for development of all partners in co-creative settings.
Curious Monkey’s Arriving project is a place where people can ‘be creative, can have new experiences and feel welcome.’ (Curious Monkey web pages). Arriving group members have made performance for public audiences. The Happiness Project activities were supported by a Co-Creating Change (Battersea Arts Centre) commission. Curious Monkey’s new play, Penguin opens in September 2023, a one man show created by Syrian artist Hamzeh Al Hussien, devised with Curious Monkey’s Artistic Director Amy Golding, writer Lindsay Rodden and supported by D6: Culture in Transit.
Reflecting on processes leading to their recent production Here (2020/2), Golding describes long-term elements of co-collaboration, ‘It is about longevity, working with people for a really long time and building trust.’ Activities include ‘hanging out’, food and theatre visits as, ‘a kind of social thing, it’s a getting to know people thing, it’s a building trust thing, but it’s also, this is what theatre can be’ (Golding cited in Hepplewhite 2022). The presentation examines the borders between participation and artist in applied theatre context, with critical discussion of their new work and the experiences of those involved.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 1 Sept 2023
EventTaPRA Annual Conference 2023 - University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom
Duration: 30 Aug 20231 Sept 2023


ConferenceTaPRA Annual Conference 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

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