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Theatre for Change

Lorna Frost | 21.03.2014 15:37 | Culture | Public sector cuts | Repression

A article about two of the projects of Leith-based drama group Active Inquiry. The 'Resilience' project refers to the challenges faced by community groups in the economic crisis and "Flashback' to a consideration of the meaning of independence.

Resilience, an exciting theatre project exploring how community groups can thrive whilst under attack, working with people with experience of homelessness, violence and mental health issues, has received backing from the Scottish Arts funding body, Creative Scotland. The project is one of several being developed by Leith-based drama group, Active Inquiry.

Active Inquiry Artistic Director, Gavin Crichton, says, 'One of the main features of the type of drama we are involved in, Forum Theatre,  is promoting engagement and developing people's confidence to take control of their lives and effect change in society.

For example  in Resilience, people use theatre to explore how they and the groups they are involved in can survive and thrive in the current economic climate. Members of community groups are working closely with us to develop a type of drama called 'legislative theatre', which will be able to propose new laws and policies in Edinburgh.

'Legislative theatre' was developed in Rio de Janeiro in the early 1990s by Theatre of the Oppressed founder, Augusto Boal.  It involves developing pieces of Forum Theatre around a specific issue. As these pieces are performed members of the audience can intervene and act out alternative ways to resolve a problem. They can also suggest new laws or policies which are voted on and could eventually be enacted by local politicians.

Another project, Flashback, uses drama to explore the theme of independence. Independence, in this case, is to be understood in the broad sense of the word and the work goes far beyond a consideration of the yes/no referendum question. It involves community actors, musicians and writers from a wide variety of backgrounds and of diverse abilities. There will be a performance at the Leith Festival in mid-June and also in the Edinburgh Festival.

Our work is exciting and, although it deals with serious issues, often very funny. I have studied with Augusto Boal and we also have actors based in Glasgow and links with other European drama groups.'

Full details of the work of Active Inquiry and how to get involved can be found on its website

Lorna Frost
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