IntroductionThe key features of community theatre are purpose, themes,venues and clients. The purpose is often to bring people together and forsocial cohesion.
The themes are commonlyassociated with morals and life lessons to influence the youth and people inthe community to make good decisions such as teen pregnancy, abortion or racialawareness. The venues where the performances take place are local places thatare easily accessible so that anyone can watch the performance, like a towncentre, church rooms, schools or assembly rooms and many more. The clients aregeneral people in the community that can go to see the show anywhere to bettertheir knowledge and understanding of the place they live or around the world.However this does have to be appropriate for certain audiences as a performanceabout murder or sexual themes would be disturbing to people under the age of16. When performing to different audiences in the community the productionsvary in theme however, they all have morals and messages behind them. JoanLittlewood used techniques like comedy, she would take a very serious topicsuch as the Second World War and she would make it comedic, causing theaudience to laugh but then making them feel guilty about laughing at such aserious subject, this helps bettering the community as it raises the concisenessof people and makes them more willing to help each other; whereas Augusto Boalused techniques that made the performance as life like as possible.
His keyfocus was on theatre of oppression and so his main ideas for bettering thecommunity involved showing a scenario to an audience once and then making theactors run it a second time and allowing the audience to step in at any time tochange the course of the story and providing a better ending for all involvedin the plot. This helped make the community better as it allowed real people tochange situations for the better, therefore teaching and encouraging them to bebetter people. The key practices of community theatre are often problem solvingand the stories for the performances always have a purpose and a very importanttheme in order to make people more aware of the world and each other. Communitytheatre has different effects on different groups of people. For example,certain shows aimed at younger people are to teach them about the world and toshow morals and for the elderly to educate and bring them together.
The Pomegranate youth theatrerecently did a production of Animal Farm in June this year. This production hasa unique way of showing political views through the different animals. Thefocus of this performance is to show different political views and to try toeducate people as well as attempt to bring them together, especially since theshow sympathises with socialist views and socialism is all about bringingpeople together. “Orwell presented several morals to usthrough Animal Farm. One of the biggest morals within the story, and the bestremembered one can be expressed through the phrase ‘Power Corrupts, Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.
‘”(LukeTowers, 2nd April 2014).This performance took place in the pomegranate theatre which is a good place asit is chesterfield’s local theatre and is easily accessible for anyone wantingto see it. The target audience could be for anyone as although politics is aheavier subject it has a theme of animals making it much more entertaining andless boring for children. Also the use of animals gives a comedic effect whichwould impact audiences more as they laugh and so pay more attention.
This couldbe an interpretation of Joan Littlewood’s techniques as a serious subject likepolitics is turned into comedy to grab people’s attention and make them think. Thisperformance is to promote equality and socialism and this way of doing it couldaffect audiences more as they feel more sympathy when an animal gets killedthan if a human died. Also because it shows animals speaking and arguing thisstands out to audiences more and gets their attention because it is not aregular occurrence when an animal acts like a human. Also because socialism isall about people working together and uniting this is an appropriate show to dowithin a community because it will bring them all together and it is also anappropriate time to do this with all the tragedies happening in modern daytelling us that we should all unite and work together. The needs of theaudience have been met as they have been educated but in an entertaining andlight hearted way. The show explores political beliefs and shows the opinionsof communism and World War II. This could also highlight themes such as classand status because political beliefs are related to social standing. It alsoshows that sticking and working together is more important than only lookingafter yourself.
I think this performance is hoping to work towards socialismand making audiences inspired to make a change which is what Augusto Boalpromoted. This is because they will feel effected by the issues and eventsbrought up and will want to contribute to change in the world. Thenext performance is Shrek the musical and dance dynamics. This is a musicalcombined with a dance show and will be showing in November. “Shrek: The Musical takes the original Shrek andbuilds upon its message of not judging a book by its cover. With one of the biggestmusical numbers being the song ‘Let Your Freak Flag Fly’ it was obvious thatthe running theme of the show was how being different is awesome.
” (Unknownwriter, 2011). Shrek the musical is a fairy story that follows an ogre on hisquest to rescue a princess and finds love along the way; this show alsofeatures many fairytale characters. As well as Shrek there is also a dance showafterwards so that everyone can get involved and feature in the performance.The focus of this show is to involve everyone and bring people of all agestogether as this is a show suitable for children of any age and the venue is atthe pomegranate theatre therefore it is easy for anyone to get there and watchthe performance. The purpose of this performance is to bring people togetherand promote the morals of inner beauty and the dance section is to bring joyand appreciation for dance as well as give other people in the group a chanceto perform and shine. The themes and issues raised in the show are that beingbeautiful on the inside and being yourself are the most important things whichare good messages to give especially in a setting with children. These themescould also encourage friendliness and joy amongst people in the community asalthough not everyone in chesterfield will see the show, it will cause otherpeople to be happy as it is a light hearted and carefree production that willcause others to be happy. “This is an immensely entertaining andhysterically funny show.
” (Caligula Constantine, 2013). I think the needs ofthe audience will be met as it is an amusing show so the audience will find itfunny and feel happy after seeing it which is all the show aims to do. The showpromotes social values and teaches people to be kind to one another as well asshow that whether you are a princess, or an ogre we are all still equal andwhat’s on the inside is what matters. The performance is hoping to achievekindness around the community because it will put them in a happier mood andmake them more pleasant to each other which overall will spread joy amongst thecommunity. This also relates to an Augusto Boal technique because the show ismaking people want to solve problems themselves and be kind to each other.
Thefinal show I will write about is Sister act which took place in Bolsoverassembly rooms. This show is about a black woman who sees her boyfriend commitmurder and goes into witness protection at a convent where she has to learn to livewith nuns ad act like them. The target audience is people of all ages as thereis nothing too heavy or inappropriate, however younger viewers may bedistressed by the murder. The purpose of this performance is to representsocial and cultural diversity as the main character is a black woman and themajority of the cast is female which shows girl power and is also a fun lighthearted production to do. The morals of the story are to never judge a book byits cover and to always see the fun side of every situation. I think theaudience will go away feeling happy and will want to make positive changes tothe community. The values shown will also inspire audiences to care for racialand gender equality as they will care for characters of ethnicity and of adifferent gender therefore causing them to be friendlier and more open toanyone in the community.
“Frankly,what’s not to like, especially when you’ve got a chorus line of jiving nunssinging their hearts out ecstatically?” (Telegraph, October 2017). I think thatthis production is hoping to raise people’s awareness of social and racialequality but above all else is simply a fun show that makes people happy andwant to be involved in bettering the community and spreading joy throughouttheir town. ConclusionOn the one hand thethree productions I have written about are all similar in that they are allpromoting a friendlier and better setting for the community. None of them areoverly serious shows and all have positive moral messages behind them whichmeans they can influence people of all ages to be kinder and to make their homea better place.
On the other hand, these shows differ because some have heaviermorals and some are simply fun shows that bring people of all ages together.Animal farm has clear political references whereas sister act and Shrek areboth much more carefree and promote more personal belief rather than opinionsthat could cause controversy. BibliographyLuke Towers (2014) Animal farm production-Available from http://thedukeofluke.weebly.com/ela-b30-blog/orwells-animal-farm-messages-and-moralsaccessed 19th October 2017Unknown writer (2011) Shrek the musical morals-availablefrom https://www.life360.com/blog/shrek-the-musical-review/accessed 19th October 2017Caligula Constantine (2013) Shrek the musical review-available from http://www.searchquotes.com/quotes/author/Shrek_The_Musical/ accessed 19th October 2017Telegraph (2017) Sister act review-available from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/charles-spencer/5434675/Sister-Act-at-the-London-Palladium-review.htmlaccessed 19th October 2017