Interactive theatre: drama as social intervention
Somers, John William
Department of Drama, University of Exeter
Music and Arts in Action
University of Exeter
In the book Performing Communities, Bill Rauch, Artistic Director of US-based Cornerstone Theater Company, is quoted as saying: You cannot predict what art changes. You’re naïve if you think you know you’re going to change the world with the art you create. It’s equally naïve and irresponsible even to acknowledge that art changes the world … (Leonard and Kilkelly, 2006, p. 72). Although I do not argue the impossibly extreme position that art can ‘change the world’ I disagree with the basic tenet behind Rauch’s comment. As a theatre-maker who for many years has created dramatic experience which has the express intention of bringing about change, I am convinced that, when shaped, targeted and delivered in particular ways, theatre and other forms of drama excite change. In order to achieve this, the dramatic intervention must consist of artistic output of the highest quality embedded in relevant pedagogic, sociological and dramatic approaches. The trick is to balance efficacy with artistic merit. This article examines the theoretical underpinnings for this kind of drama and theatre and provides examples of this work in action.
Vol.1, No. 1, pp.61-86