Paid professional performers performing with non paid community performers – how can it work best if at all

Convener(s): Ruth Ben-Tovim 

Participants: Alice Purcell, Phelim McDermott,

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

  • professionals built the titanic and amateurs built the arc
  • a danger of - theatre of the patronised
  • non professional – professional what does it actually mean, in each case useful  to look at what the role/function /intention is around involving different groups and in what we mean when we use those terms
  • Is payment the only differentiation – can it work to be paying some people and not paying others if they are on the surface doing the same thing? Is it theatre of the patronised to be paying the professional stars and using the volunteers as chorus- whats everyone getting out of it-
  • Need for transparency of intent. If the agreement is clear up front then that differentiation is more possible.
  • Issues of amateurs shifting into a professional framework eg Young at Heart choir – they are now operating within a professional framework but they are still ‘amateurs’ and they are moving and interesting because of those qualities
  • Maybe an experienced performer has been doing it long enough to be able to forget their self consciousness or an experienced performer is more used to being a filter, a conduit for the stories/voices of others or knows what live performance can ‘do’ so holds that in themselves,
  • In a situation where professionals/non professionals performing together perhaps performers could almost have a dual role as pot holder/ facilitator/knowledge holder/experience holder esp if it is the ‘first time’ in front of an audience for others, in effect they hold a safe space for co performers. 
  • The word professional/ non professional  can both be used prejoratively – they both have qualities that are interesting