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ERIC Number: EJ763839
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Feb
Pages: 13
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 13
ISSN: ISSN-1356-9783
Taking to the Streets: Dutch Community Theatre Goes Site-Specific
van Erven, Eugene
Research in Drama Education, v12 n1 p27-39 Feb 2007
Dutch participatory community-based theatre has thus far been largely text-based and quite apprehensive of abstract site-specific performance, which it regarded as the product of "outsider gazing" and exploitative of local residents. Quite recently, the two veteran Dutch community-based companies Stut and RWT were forced by extraordinary circumstances to work on site in the working-class neighbourhoods of Ondiep in Utrecht and Heijplaat in Rotterdam. Almost coincidentally they discovered the charm and unsuspected extratextual potential of working on site. Drawing on the work of Mike Pearson and some philosophical and sociological considerations of site and place, this article seeks to demonstrate that Stut's and RWT's misgivings are at least partially unwarranted. Based on these writings, place (as space made meaningful by human actions) seems to be at least as valuable a starting point for performance making as the stories of people who live there, tales which were born on site to begin with. By giving the aesthetic potential of site equal weight as the narrative reflections of community residents, which community-based theatre has thus far taken as its sole starting point, the resulting site-specific performances may well become even more powerful than the accidental productions in Ondiep and Heijplaat already were. As long as they continue to involve their participants in artistic decisions, community-based theatre makers have little reason to fear that they will alienate them and the theory and practice of site-specific performance artists like Mike Pearson and others may contain more valuable insights than they seem to think. (Contains 3 figures and 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Netherlands