HOW WE WORK
The arts are capable to transcend spaces and places “how I would like the world to be.”
Giving marginalised groups the opportunity to be witnessed in their individual totality and uniqueness will enrich their exploration of their creative potential as well as their expression and, in accordance with the concept of empowerment, reduce their societal marginalisation. On these grounds, practitioners and participants are collaborators by exploring individual skills, interests and needs, so that all those involved are necessary and recognised parts of the group´s creation.
Expressiveness developed through participatory arts engagements must not remain contained in a safe space, but may reach out to the public as well. The particular importance of creating spaces where these groups can explore their expression becomes clear within the context of an exclusionary society.
There is of course the question how such a space needs to be constructed in order to enable collective, and thus individual empowerment, so that it contributes to social change. It becomes clear that the structures an organisation applies to its spaces and which practitioners apply to their projects are shaping the environment the participants are involved in. Get in touch with us to learn more how we can support you in creating such spaces.
A bit about the founder: Kristina Werner
A BIT OF BACKGROUND
Kristina is a theatre maker and creative arts facilitator in education and community settings working in the UK, Czech Republic, Lithuania and Germany. She was part of the creative team of Green Meadow, a documentary theatre production about the closure of Ignalina Atomic Power Plant, which is shown in the National Drama Theatre Lithuania. In 2015, she graduated from the MA Applied Theatre in London, in which she explored the ways in which theatre and performance is created by diverse groups of people. Over the past ten years, she has worked across art forms in projects with young people with learning disabilities, intercultural groups, old people in care homes and with refugees. Her purpose is to facilitate greater access to performance arts and to give opportunity to voice each person´s concerns in their own terms.
The term applied theatre started to being used in the 1990s to describe forms of activity that primarily exist outside conventional theatre institutions, and which are specifically intended to benefit individuals, communities and societies. There is a wide and diverse range of dramatic practices, for example, drama education, theatre for development, theatre in prisons, community theatre, intergenerational theatre and reminiscence theatre. Each of these forms of theatre has its own theories, debates and highly specialised practices which often are rather different from one another. Although there there are many different facets of applied theatre, practitioners in this field share a common belief: a belief in the power of the theatre form to address something beyond the form itself.
Other academic disciplines that use the preface ´applied´ often contrast it with ´pure´. In mathematics, for example, pure mathematics is abstract and theoretical, whereas applied mathematics is concerned with using theoretical models to solve practical problems. Most practitioners working in applied theatre are motivated by individual or social change and there is, therefore, a similar interest in the effects and usefulness of the work.
For me theatre spaces should be everyday utopias as I understand art that is capable of to transcend spaces and places how I would like the world to be. Of course, engaging people from different backgrounds doesn’t make an artistic process easier, but by opening up possibilities in creating art for everyone I move a step further to a world I´d like to live in. So that I not only see one perspective in theatre, but many different ones that also show the variety of people who live in our society. Applied theatre encompasses the notion of creating a society of equals through artistic practice. So for me, applied theatre is not only an art form, but a political methodology in active citizenship.