Taking theatre to the party- theatre and celebration

Convener(s): Roses Urquhart: www.rosesurquhart.net

Participants: Malina Chabocka, Trish Parry, Holly Hardy, Mark Courtice, sorry to others, didn’t get your names.


Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

I’m interested in building bridges between classical theatre and the riotous energy of festivals.  How to channel the energy and sense of community raised in performance into celebration instead of letting it dissapate as everyone goes home.


The notes below are incomplete; the full report will be online.


We began by talking about performance in non-conventional spaces; clubs, cabaret etc.  Outdoor festivals where music, performance and other aspects- food/drink convene in a leading theme that creates a forum for celebration.  How community is created in this way.

It was mentioned that festival culture facilitates celebration because it gives the participant multiple options- they can spontaneously follow their gut- go dancing, chill out, watch a play.  They have already paid for their ticket, they can wander away if something doesn’t grab them.

Although some festivals, Latitude in particular, have made a great effort to incorporate theatre, the festival circuit in general is tough to work.  Festivals often only offer tickets and expenses, facilities are basic, performance standards may be fairly patchy as many people not from performance backgrounds fill performance roles in exchange for tickets.


Returning to ‘normal’ theatre spaces, in town, we talked about how celebration can be brought into performance.  Shows such as Punchdrunk’s Masque of the Red Death and Barbican’s Office Party created a real experience of celebration. A ‘wander in’ policy was mentioned; how people could be helped to feel that they could spontaneously enter a theatre in the way they might bimble into a tent.


- more to be added!