What is Community Theatre?Community theatre is a type of theatre that is created to educate and informgroups/people in the community. Community theatre has four key features;purpose, theme, clients, and most importantly the venue. In community theatreeach key feature has a very important role to play with each one having aspecific job to do. Firstlythere is the purpose of the performance.
The purpose is very important tocommunity theatre because it is what the performance is trying to do; likebeing education, informative, bringing up and certain opinion or a politicalrant, plus many others.Thetheme of the performance is the thing message you’re trying to stretchthroughout the entire story. The theme of the story being told is usually thelesson the protagonist/s of the story will find out at the end.
The theme of aperformance may be about; death, sex, crime or maybe simpler things likecrossing the road or not talking to strangers, plus many, many others.Theclients of the performance are the audience. The audience are your targetaudience and the company must cater to their audience, this is because thecompany don’t want to be showing children a performance on murder, sex,grooming, and drugs. Your clients may include children, teens, parents, theelderly, or even victims of abuse, as well as many more.Lastlywe have the venue of the performance. The venues is the place the communitytheatre performance will be held. Themay include places like; schools, colleges, churches, community centres, or inthe middle of a town or city.What Are The Key Practicesof Community Theatre?There aretwo key practise of community theatre that are used; and they both are JoanLittlewoods Theatre Workshop and Augusto Boals Theatre of Oppressed.
Bothpractises are used in community theatres because both views on educating andinforming plus tackling social issues in community groups.InJoan Littlewoods Theatre Workshop they took big social events and basicallymade a mockery of the issue; just like her 1963 production “Oh what a lovelywar!” where she took such a divided event (the first world war) and made fun ofit. Many people who took the war very seriously wouldn’t have liked this showbecause of what she did and her take on the war.
Theatre Workshops main purposewas really to entertain the public, and lift there moods after the Dark Agethat was the war, by making it silly. AugustoBoal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, was more of a dark and realistic take oncommunity theatre, by feeding of the raw emotions of the audience and tacklingthose social issues. Augusto Boal came up with the term “Spect-actors” for theaudience, this allowed the audience to change the outcome of the story by shoutingstop and taking a performers place, they did this to make a better ending tothe story. The main clients of this community theatre practise would be matureteens, adults and maybe elderly people, who most probably want to see a changehappen.Community TheatreCommunitytheatre is for all age groups as it is to educate and inform.
In differentgroups of people in the community, the purpose of a community theatreperformance has to mean different things to different groups because you don’twant to be showing somethings that is quite inappropriate to a certain group ofclients. If the groups younger like children the story would have to be morelight hearted with lessons like crossing the road or not talking to strangers.With teens is can be darker with lessons of sex, bullying, grooming and thingslike that. I say this because teens ae mature and these are things they reallyneed to be educated about going into their young adult life’s.Community Theatre GroupsThe Crackpot Company: TheCrackpot Company is a community theatre group that goes to different primaryschools all around the community and the surrounding areas.
They performChristian Bible studies to the youth. They do this by simplifying and addingfun elements to their retellings, for it to appeal to their clients.Performances include retellings of the story of Jesus and Noah’s ark plus manyothers.
Likeall community theatre productions The Crackpot Company rely on the four keyfeatures of community theatre. For the venue this company travels though thecommunity traveling from primary school to primary school. Thepurpose of each performance is to educate children about Christianity and therebible telling. By educating the youth about the different bible telling’s theycould get a couple of new followers into their religion.Theclients are always primary school children, aged 6-11 years old, because ofthis the group really need to make sure what they are showing to the childrenas the children can be very corruptible so you need to be very sure what youare saying to them. AsThe Crackpot Company perform retellings of bible telling’s the themes of theperformance vary from performance to performance; but I can say that a part ofthe main theme they try and get across is Christian teachings, moral messages.
You could also say they explore the right and wrong.Ithink that The Crackpot Company are hoping to achieve the ability to teachchildren the importance of believing in something. I believe this because thecompany are religious people themselves and they would like to show otherpeople that it is good to believe.
IfI had to link the company to Joan Littlewood or Augusto Boal, I would say theyare more Joan Littlewood then Augusto Boal. They are more Joan Littlewoodbecause they have made there retellings more fun for the children to enjoy,plus it is more appropriate for the age group.Inspirations TheatreCompany: InspirationsTheatre Company I a community theatre group which is available to people 6years and upwards. The company is an award winning performing arts drama groupthat specialises in bringing West-end style shows to the community. The Groupwill help the people involved develop manly skills like performance skills,confidence, and other skills you’ll need going into the industry and life ingeneral.Justlike the other groups this company uses the four key features of communitytheatre; venue, clients, themes, and the purpose. For the venue, the companylike The Crackpot Company travel the community showing there shows, for exampleHasland Playhouse and the palace theatre in Mansfield.
Having the venue open toall people in the community gives the company a more diverse audience.TheClients the company usually gets can be very diverse depending on the show.Some shows they put on like High School Musical Jr are more light heartedperformances with nicer story elements; with these shows you can except a morefamily based audience. With the family audience as their target audience theywould have had to make sure that they have more appropriate themes.
With performanceslike Chess the musical the company the audience would have to be much older andmature for the mature themes.Thethemes of the performance is quite diverse from show to show. Some themes canbe light hearted like High School Musical Jr.
In other shows it can be darkerlike Gypsy.Lastlythe purpose of the company. The purpose of the company is basically to helppeople develop their skills in acting and conference through there workshops.They do this not only to help people in the community develop in acting and getsomewhere in the acting industry but also to help people to gain thatconfidence to do something.
Inthe end I think that this theatre group is trying to achieve educating peopleby helping them develop there skills. Pomegranate Youth Theatre: ThePomegranate Youth Theatre is a community theatre company that love to exploreall aspects of stagecraft in there workshops. In the workshops they work onteamwork, confidence, creativity, and social skills. The company’s productionsexplore issues in the local community though research. Every year the companytakes part in a performance, once they did Joan Littlewood’s Oh what a lovelywar.Thefirst key feature in the venue. The company usually performs at thechesterfield pomegranate theatre in the town centre.
Performing here allows thedifferent community groups to come and see the show.Thenext feature is the purpose. The purpose of the company is to educate the youthabout acting and to try and help them develop their skills. In the company’sperformances you could say that the group is trying to voice their community’sopinions.Thenext one is the theme. The company have been known to do small productions onthe local community and its issues.Lastlythe clients.
The clients who come and see the shows are people who really wantto see a change in their community. So you could expect elders or adults.Inthe end I think that the company try and voice the community’s issues andproblems. I think they are because the do a lot of research in to the localcommunity. I also think that they want to help the people who come to theirworkshops by educating them and developing their skills.IfI had to pick a certain community theatre practice to relate to the company Iwould say they are more Augusto Boal due to them wanting to make a change inthe community just like the theatre of the oppressed.ConclusionIncontrast The Crackpot Company and The Pomegranate Youth Group are completelydifferent in their ways, with the Crackpots being for children and thepomegranate youth appealing towards more the older and mature people in thecommunity. This is because of the purpose and the themes they use.
The themesthe crackpots use are more child friendly as they try and teach children whatreligion is about when the pomegranate youth try to voice their voices andopinions. They portray there different themes by exploring different practises,The Crackpots being very Joan Littlewood and The Pomegranate Youth being moreAugusto Boal.InComparison Inspirations Theatre Company and the Pomegranate Youth Theatre areboth the same in what they want to achieve. Both groups want to help make achange by helping people gain conference and to help them develop their skills.
InConclusion all the groups want to make a difference in the community weatherits teaching children about religion or helping people develop new and oldskills, or even speaking out and trying to make a voice. All of the groups aretrying to help the community in there different ways to make it a better placeto be in.