A collection of essays about theatre for social change and community based drama, this book explores themes of theatre by and for the socially marginalized. There have been an increasing number of theatrical groups in recent years which use drama to create social change and community development for cultures in conflict. Theatre games, by forcing the performer to experience different levels of discomfort, help push the boundaries of individuals’ understanding of themselves and others within and without their community. Using drama in conflict resolution work creates a community within a community; a "company" that focuses on process rather than outcome, a culture which creates its own language of sameness while testing its awareness of difference. By looking at this genre of performance in the United States, Australia, the Middle East, Bosnia, Taiwan, Korea, England and the Netherlands, the book is able to display a diverse array of social and community based drama in the international arena. Community based theatre has been largely ignored by the academic communities and this work helps to uncover the importance of such an area of performance and performance studies.
The essays included help show the importance of the audience in the role of active participants in terms of community based performance, as well as the devising process in exploring past trauma and present political discord within a local group. The book organized the essays by defining communities, addressing legitimacy and who has the authority to speak for and about a community, and of the importance of community drama to empower and give voice to the audience. This book helps to draw together links and connections between the multivalent types of community and social drama being performed across the world. By also looking at activists performance and community theatre, Haedicke and Nellhaus present a vast array of the type of performance of this kind available in the field.