Performance practice in community settings is an established part of the cultural landscape. However, this practice is frequently viewed as functional: an intervention that seeks to solve, educate or heal. Performance and Community presents an alternative vision, focussing, instead, on the aesthetic and political ambitions of artists, organisations and cultural producers committed to this area. Through case studies, this edited collection gives unprecedented access to some of the leading organisations in the field, examining their creative processes and placing them in their historical context. In parallel, a series of interviews with individual artists explores their approaches and how they are re-shaped by the communities that they encounter. Case studies include: the Grassmarket Project, the Lawnmowers Independent Theatre Company, London Bubble, Magic Me and the partnership between the artist, Mark Storor and producer, Anna Ledgard; while interviews in this collection include: Mojisola Adebayo, Bobby Baker, Sue Emmas, Tony Fegan, Paul Heritage, Rosemary Lee and Lois Weaver. An invaluable resource for students of applied, social, community and contemporary theatre practices, Performance and Community provides vivid evidence of the complex negotiations between artist and community that lie at the heart of this delicate work.
Dr Caoimhe McAvinchey is Senior Lecturer in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at Queen Mary, University of London. Prior to this she established the MA Applied Drama: Theatre in Educational, Community and Social Contexts at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is author of Theatre & Prison (2011).