Community Arts and the Quality Issue and
Theatre and Empowerment.
‘The search for quality in community arts, I would suggest,
begins not at the moment of consumption by an external audience, but during the journey of creation and exploration in workshop
by participants. The initial stages of this have three distinct elements. First, the participant is engaged in a process that
concerns learning and technique, coming to terms with the discipline and demands of the art form – framing a photograph,
remembering a movement sequence, mastering a craft skill.
Secondly, the participant is engaged in an individual authorial process, giving
voice, developing confidence, finding expression for his/her own ideas, identity, feelings, observations.
Thirdly, he/she is engaged in group processes,
such as discussing, reflecting, negotiating with others, developing a collective creative approach. This implies that evidence
of excellence is to be found first in the degree of learning and second in the degree of authorship
authorship and co-authorship) that is taking place within the workshop’
Read more in An Outburst of Frankness, Community Arts in Ireland – a reader, 2004,tasc at New Island ISBN 1-094301-64-9
‘(In 1999) I undertook an epic journey as a contributor to
The Wedding Community Play Project in Belfast. This was a metaphoric and literal journey undertaken by 150 community participants (ranging in age
from ten to sixty-five), a number of professional arts workers, an audience of 700 and a very much wider audience who read
about the project in their newspapers, saw extracts on television programmes and at conferences and heard about it from their
style ensured that no two people travelled exactly the same theatrical journey; its confrontational genesis ensured that no
two versions of its history completely agree.
this is my version of that journey: flawed, partisan, partial. Other voices will weave in and out of the story, but
I am the narrator and I have selected, judged, shaped, and edited these other voices to meet my purposes. I am a player in
the narrative, not a detached observer.’
Read more in
Theatre and Empowerment:
Community Drama on the World Stage, edited by Richard Boon and Jane Plastow, 2004, Cambridge University, ISBN 0521817293