The Theatre Dance and Performance Training Blog is creating a new section to investigate the role of training in applied and community theatre. We are looking for contributions from practitioners, scholars, teachers and others interested in exploring the intersection between training and community for instance, how training might be used in relation to theatre for social change, the relationship between training and some of the prominent themes of applied practice, or how we train for working in the community.
Augusto Boal discusses training bodies in the practices of Theatre of the Oppressed as a form of consciousness raising. He describes using theatre to train the body of the participant:
That is, to take them apart, to study and analyse them. Not to weaken or destroy them, but to raise them to the level of consciousness. So that each worker, each peasant understands, sees, and feels to what point his body is governed by his work (Boal 104).
Training allows the participant to become aware of how alienation has impacted upon her body: how economic, cultural and social structures mark the body. Training is a training in noticing how the world marks the body and accordingly changes the subject’s relationship to the world.
Through the blog we want to explore the complicated relationship that training has to practice in non-professional settings, considering the broader questions that this practice raises in terms of representation, cultural recognition, power and domination and social change. On the one hand, following Boal, training can be an act of consciousness raising, re-distributing skills and resources and accordingly giving participants the means of the production (bodily and vocal production). On the other, training can be a homogenising practice, eliminating cultural difference and perpetuating certain dominant ideas of ‘correctness’. The blog will explore the complexity of training, neither dismissing it as culturally domineering, nor fetishizing its value or social good. Continue reading