How to take the theatre out of theatre?

Jan Winter, 1 September 2012

I called this session but no one came, I had wanted to go outside with it but what happened was a group of people ended up standing on the flip chart paper - not knowing they were standing on this title - talking about how outdoor work provided a better feedback loop (immediate often very vocal response and ability to walk away) as well as obviously a greater number of variables therefore presenting greater risk. Theatre is the only art form where the building is the same as the work, I don't know how that is relevant except that a lot of emphasis is often put on theatre buildings in terms of resources and emotional ownership.

We then talked about tents, and earlier in the day in the ‘transition theatre’ session someone had suggested that a tent went round the country with a discursive, participatory model towards engaging with sustainability issues in a way that wasn't didactic. For me a formal theatre space can be oppressive, there is something about the seats, the formality of construct and notion of private spaces that you buy, tents are more about communality and do not have a linear form and as many straight edges - there is an indoor/outdoor feel to them that theatres, made to be dark spaces so the lights work, do not/cannot have. Outdoor work can be emotionally engaging, terrifying and dramatic, it is often conflated with comedy/street act. We did talk about all this even though people didn't know it was the subject and I didn't start the conversation, so maybe the title leaked up through their shoes.