Theatre in the Community Essay examples

Theatre in the Community Essay examples

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Theatre in the Community

Britain in 1979 was a place of great change and division. Although the
country had united in the election of Margaret Thatcher as the first
Conservative woman Prime minister by the early 1980’s one could say
that the country was spiralling into a state of decline. This was
largely due to the disarray of the previous Labour government and the
implementation of the Conservative government’s robust style of
economic management.

All spheres of social and cultural life were to be judged on their
economic terms and values. This is particularly true within the Arts.
In ‘Politics of Performance’ Baz Kershaw describes how, “Private
enterprise was to replace public dependency, so cuts in government,
expenditure, including that on the arts, were inevitable.” This stems
back largely to the ideological principals of conservatism.
Conservatism believes in the self reliant role of the individual. It
strongly allows for the expansion of public enterprise and thus frowns
upon state intervention and avoids assistance towards public
dependency. Therefore, where it was seen that some areas of public
life, such as the arts, were “financially draining”, cuts were made
where necessary to ensure that funds were spent more wisely, largely
towards benefiting enterprise.

A culmination of activities throughout the 1980’s meant that the arts
were one of the key areas of public life that were disregarded in
favour of prioritised events. This is effectively where the arts began
to suffer. Although some mainstream theatre was funded by the GLC
(Greater London Council), many alternative theatre groups were seen as
unnecessary and as they often highlighted social issues, such as
homosexuality, that were seen as taboo, they were generally avoided
when it came to the distribution of funding. This can clearly be seen
in Kershaw’s, ‘Politics of Performance’, where Kershaw states, “The
divisions in British society were also reflected in the growing
distance between the top and bottom of the theatrical pyramid during
the 1980’s. In 1982 the Royal Shakespeare Company had moved into the
huge concrete edifice of the Barbican in the City of London. The
following year, a government- ordered investigation into the RSC (the
Pristley report) concluded that counter to government suspicions- the
company was efficient but under funded to the ...


... middle of paper ...


...iece was heavily
influenced by the needs of a local disability group.

Community theatres range in size from small groups led by single
individuals performing in borrowed spaces, to large year round
companies with elaborate well equipped theatres of their own. Many
community theatres are successful non-profit businesses with a large
active membership and, in some cases, a full time professional staff.
As the performers and other artists are also involved in other aspects
of their community, non-professional theatre can develop a broad base
of support and attendance among those who might not normally support
the professional arts. Community theatre is in fact well documented as
being the most widely attended venue for theatre in America and
Australia.

Community theatre is often seen as adding to the social capital of a
community, in that it develops skills and community spirit for those
involved. Furthermore, it can also create a place for debate,
self-expression and interactivity that is important for the health of
a community. When this can involve people with learning disabilities,
for example, it can disarm prejudices that people encounter on a daily
basis.

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Theatre in the Community Essay examples

- Theatre in the Community Britain in 1979 was a place of great change and division. Although the country had united in the election of Margaret Thatcher as the first Conservative woman Prime minister by the early 1980’s one could say that the country was spiralling into a state of decline. This was largely due to the disarray of the previous Labour government and the implementation of the Conservative government’s robust style of economic management. All spheres of social and cultural life were to be judged on their economic terms and values....   [tags: Drama]

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