Introduction:

This document will be
exploring community theatre, what it is, what it means and the two main players
in community theatre Joan Littlewood and Augusto Boal.

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Community
theatre what is:

Community theatre is intended to, educate and inform the
local community of issues in either the past or present. These issues can very
whether they primary occur within one community or whether they are occurring
across the whole world and that some people are afraid to talk about. It can
show the experiences of young people and their struggles of growing up, for
example in these times how hard it may be for some teenagers are the constant
need to find a job and be independent can mess with people and if it were to be
put in a play it can show to grown-ups that we also have it hard. Workshops
about issues with in politics, prisons, the government and anything that is an
issue in the modern world. The struggles of females throughout history as seen
through a feminist’s perspective, or even the struggles of men and how the
issues that women have some of them relate to men as well and it could show how
now more than ever how were equal not in everything but how we can still
relate.

Purpose:

These performances are done to show issues in the real world
and to also make a mockery of today issues to show that nothing is safe from
criticism, and it makes people forget the harshness of life even for a little
bit. The different purposes are: raise awareness- this is self-explanatory it
is done to raise awareness to issues plaguing the world, amuse- it is used to
amuse the audience sometimes to show that even the most serious moments can be
ridiculed and be made a mockery of, educate- it is used to inform people of
situations that could be occurring around them and how to help people who are
going through the things that are being performed, entertain- to well entertain
it is self-explanatory it is used to entertain the audience so they enjoy what
they paid for and so they support the show, express- it is used to express
someone’s feelings about a topic or a series of topics and to show people your
opinion on the topic, perform- it is community theatre so it is in the name
theatre so it will be a performance and it will be performed by actors and
actresses which can be used by them to gain better roles later in life and for
them to also show what they believe if they perform in a role about a topic
where they agree with the opinion of the writer, explain- it is used to explain
that some issues aren’t easy to deal with and that simple it isn’t just one
thing that can get people to act the way they act so it; shows the issues, how
people act when faced with the issues and how to help people in these
situations and to discuss- to get people talk after the show, to start a
conversation about change and about help it also is used to get other people’s
opinions.

Tailoring:

The performance can be changed and
tailored to specific audiences. For example, if you are performing it in a school
could make it more educational also make it more child friendly by taking out
any strong language and any graphic scenes, however if you were to perform it
to young adults or even adults you can keep the language in and keep the scenes
in also you can keep the subtext in and not make it as obvious as you would
have to for a school.

Themes:

The performance can be based off, of
anything for example Joan Littlewood used the bible and its issues and she even
used the war for one of her plays called ‘Oh, What a Lovely War!’ (1963) and
she made a mockery of it, as she was performing it only 18 after the 2nd
world war ended it caused a lot of controversy as she was poking fun at the
biggest disaster in human history at the time. Whereas Augusto Boal didn’t make
mockery’s he decided to keep it serious and toured the world teaching people
his theatre creation ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’. It provides tools for people
to explore collective struggles, analyse their history and present circumstances,
and then to experiment with inventing a new future together through theatre.
Themes also determine the client you will be mainly performing to where you can
tailor your performance to different age groups sometimes you must change the
message for the age group if it is inappropriate or if they can’t relate to it
or they just won’t understand it. Some examples: drugs, death, religion, the
afterlife, feminism, equality, gay rights, poverty, crime, politics,
government.  

Venue:

The venue is where the performance will
take place. For example, if you are doing a performance about a school and
performing it in a school can be a bit more authentic to the students as they
can relate also if the parents are there to watch they as well can relate to as
everyone has been through school. Or if you are doing a performance about
elderly people you could perform it in a nursing home as your audience is
already there. Examples of venues: Schools (primary and secondary), nursing
home, youth club, town, park, community centre, village halls, theatre and
museums.

Client:

The client is the person who is going to
be watching the performance, they are who the performance it tailored to and in
the terms of ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’ is who the performance is about to an
extent. For an example, if you were to perform to children you would have to
make a play for them where its not all serious and has light hatred moment and
comedy, whereas for adults you can make it serious and explicit because if you
were to perform a play that’s meant for children to adults they wouldn’t take
it serious. Examples of clients: school children (primary and secondary),
elderly, adults, parents, teenagers, young adults, politicians.

Joan Littlewood:

Joan Littlewood pioneered the regeneration
of British theatre, between the 1950’s and 60’s. As a director Joan changed the
face of British theatre. She enlarged the classic repertoire, she discovered
new writers and she created a production company of very talented performers to
help her create a fresh new theatrical style of playing. Shelagh Delany wrote
‘A Taste of Honey’ which once she finished she showed it to Joan, who rewrote
it in order to make it fit her style, this style was later known as Community
theatre. She wanted to bring people in communities through 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 wrote ‘Oh What a Lovely
War!’ in 1963 which was about word war 1, it was very controversial as it was
making a mockery of world war 1. Which was only 45 years after the war ended,
Joan added comedy to tackle serious issues she also tackled biblical issues.
When the Premiered ‘Oh What a Lovely War!’ was going on it was during a time of
international tension as no so long ago the second world war ended, and nations
were still uneasy with each other. Her goal with this performance was to show
that no everything is doom and gloom, and that everything can be ridiculed no
matter how big or serious everything can be made fun of; however, her goal was
to educate and inform people of these issues that happened in the first world
war.

 

 

Modern day comparison:

Today’s modern-day version of what Joan
did would be Russell Howard with his old show on BBC ‘Russell Howards good
news’ or his newer show on sky ‘the Russell Howard hour’ where he covers news
form newspapers and tv news stations, and he finds the funniest stories or even
serious stories and makes a mockery of them however he also takes it seriously
and explains why this story is wrong in today’s world, and he explains how the
world should be.

Augusto Boal:

Augusto Boal pioneered the ‘Theatre of
the Oppressed’, this technique provides the tools for people to explore
collective struggled, to evaluate their history and current situations, and
then to experiment with creating a new future together through theatre. Augusto
was inspired by Freire, Brecht, and Stanislavski. To Augusto everybody is at
once an actor as well as spectator or spec-actors, he came up with the idea
when during a performance Augusto developed the idea where the audience could
pause the performance, and suggest a different course of action to the actors
who will then act it out. However, during one performance one woman got so
outraged because the actor didn’t understand what she meant, and it got to the
point where the woman went on stage and acted it out herself to show what she
meant.

Comparison:

The comparison is between Joan Littlewood
and Augusto Boal. Where Joan took serious matters, and made them okay to joke
about influencing comedy in a totally new way, by pioneering what essentially
is dark humour (Dark humour is when you make fun of dark, serious and morbid
topics, basically you joke about anything). Whereas Augusto’s work focused on
the seriousness of life and of issues that can plague normal people you see
every day. Joan influenced comedy and peoples outlook on the world much more
than Augusto where he pioneered the spec-actors and actual theatre and focused
on the seriousness of life. Both did amazing things for theatre, Joan created
‘the remote’ for theatre where one person controls the remote, and can pause,
fast-forward, and rewind the performance. Augusto created the spec-actors and
the ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’, however the effect they had on the whole world
is different, Joan pioneered dark humour which is being used by a lot of people
and show not just dark humour but with making everything okay to joke about,
Augusto on the other hand focused mainly on theatre and performing.

Conclusion:

In conclusion community theatre is really
helpful to open people up to new ideas or new out looks on life. It is also a
very good was of bringing a community together and for them to bond and
communicate which is something they may not have originally done.

The Monk Gomery:

The purpose of this is to entertain
people at the Eckington Theatre. The client can be anyone that wishes to see
this however if they are commissioned to perform to a specific audience the
performance will be targeted at them. The venue is mainly a theatre, this
allows the audience to experience a theatre performance which is something some
people never get to experience, it also help the staff who are performing as
they know what they are working with. The types of projects they do are:
Performance, when the production company puts on a show it gives the
actors and people in the back a chance to express their love for performing and
creating a performance, and workshops, gets the audience involved and allow
them to learn new ways of expressing their feelings in the way of acting and
other forms of performing. It also gets the participants up and active, so they
are get some sort of physical benefit from the workshop.

Open the Book:

The purpose of this is to educate the
people who watch the performance. The client is mainly children in primary
school. The stories are from the bible, the performances are simplified down
and so the children can understand it. 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.

The Winding Wheel:

The purpose of the winding wheel depends
what audience they are performing to because if they are performing to kids
they are there to entertain them however if the audience are adults they are
more informative and try to educate the audience. The client is either kids or
adults however they mainly focus on primary and secondary school kids, but they
will perform to any other client if requested to. The venue is a theatre, the
kids are invited up to the theatre to watch the performance, they want to show
the kids a theatre experience.

Bibliography:

A Brief Biography of Augusto Boal

“what is
‘community theatre’?”. Performing impact. Web. 11th October 2017.

“Did Oh What
a Lovely War shape our view of WW1?” BBC. By Joan Bakewell. Web. 12th
October 2017. http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zws9xnb

Theater of the Oppressed

http://theatrecloud.com/news/joan-littlewood-her-life-and-approach-to-theatre