Beginning from the premise that by its nature theater is inherently participatory, this arts workshop explores a wide spectrum of participatory/interactive performance with an emphasis on contemporary practices and their potential for civic engagement. Specific attention will be given to the relationships between artist, event and spectator-participant as well as forms of interactivity and the spectrum of engagement they provide. What does it mean to participate? How does participatory performance affect the role and process of the writer, director, designer, performer, and audience member? Who is in the audience? What are the ethical concerns of these evolving and increasingly popular practices? Throughout the course students will engage as creators as well as audience-participants as we examine these relationships and questions. We will investigate the work of artists and companies using participatory forms to explore such concepts as democracy, citizenship, and systems of privilege including Aaron Landsman ( City Council Meeting
), Dread Scott ( Dread Scott: Decision
), dog & pony dc, Epic Theatre Ensemble and others. The course will also address the issues raised by working cross-culturally and frameworks for artists to consider the political and philosophical implications of making work in, with, about and for diverse communities. Theoretical texts may include readings by Claire Bishop, Nicolas Bourriaud, Augusto Boal and others based on student research interests. The course culminates in an in-class sharing of short participatory performances-in-progress created by students individually or in groups based on intersections with their own research and practices.