Dialogue works right across the globe. In 2017, for example, we worked on Documentation, Archival and Research projects in Cambodia, Ethiopia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Zambia. We are continually evolving and growing, so we expect to announce even more project locations in the next few months.
Dialogue’s focus is on how Community Performance intersects with the fields of Education, International Development and services for Young People. However, we often find that our work is applicable across other sectors too.
We welcome questions from any organisation or individual interested in Partnering with us on similar projects in the future:
If you are an organisation or individual using, or who are interested in using, Community Performance in their work, please click here to learn more about working with us as a Partner.
If you do not facilitate Community Performance projects directly, but are interesting in Partnering with us to support and extend global capacity in Community Performance work, please click here to learn more about working with us as a Strategic Partner.
ASSITEJ 19th Annual World Congress and International Theatre Festival for Children and Young People
Dialogue was delighted to collaborate with ASSITEJ during the 2017 “Cradle of Creativity” World Congress and International Theatre Festival for Children and Young People to document the performances, workshops, lectures, seminars and other activities during the 12-day event. For more information about this project, please click here.
Using a range of different creative media, we provided in-depth commentary and varied perspectives on the event, publishing many of our resources ‘live’ during the 12 days themselves, to help the conversations from the Congress & Festival continue online in a way that was accessible even to those not attending in person.
Documentation of Community Performance – Academic Research
Chris, our Founder & Director, authored a sustained academic research paper examining the documentation of Theatre for Development practice. Whilst recognising that documentation contributes a wealth of knowledge to the field, the paper examines how the knowledge is subjectively bound to the context in which it has been constructed. In doing so, the paper explores the extent to which the ways in which participants’ voices are curated, within the documentation of practice, might affect the postcolonial character of the knowledge we hold about TfD.
Through the deconstructive discursive analysis of four documentation texts, this research argues that a curation of participants’ voices that engages with Michelle Fine’s (1994) framework of ‘working the hyphen’ is able to resist the neocolonial tendencies of representing participants in Eurocentric, exoticised and essentialist manners. By demonstrating how both the presence, and absence, of ‘working the hyphen’ affects the knowledge that is produced by documentation texts about TfD, the dissertation contends that postmodern reflexivity should be maintained when consuming and producing documentation, in order for TfD practice to realise postcolonial intentions.
Laura has worked on research looking at the importance of incorporating the Arts into core curricular educational systems. Specifically, she focused on the possibilities that Arts Education can provide to the current remodelling of Cambodia’s education system, and how Arts Education could contribute to the conservation of traditional Khmer culture that was largely lost during the Khmer Rouge genocide. The paper argues that Arts Education should be awarded a central place within Cambodia’s core curriculum as it may: preserve and maintain the importance of Khmer culture to young generations; help families share and connect by bridging the intergenerational gap of knowledge and experience; and support relational pedagogy that is both healing and necessary for the community, country and its future generations. The research contends that Cambodia should shift away from attempting to imitate global educational standards and focus instead on innovating new educational practice that is more relevant to the needs of its people. In doing so, Laura suggests that Arts Education could play a key role in ensuring that both Cambodia’s education system and traditional culture are not merely in survival mode, but are thriving to their full potential.
More information about the research can be found in this article from the Huffington Post.
We have worked in Ethiopia to support Fekat Circus and Meseret Yirga (an independent practitioner) to document their Community Performance practice through a range of different media.
DreamArts Impact Assessment Study
Our Founder & Director co-authored an Impact Assessment study with Dr Selina Busby from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. The report examined the work of DreamArts, an outreach arts charity which supports hundreds of vulnerable young people every year in Central London.
By collating interviews with current and past participants, with focus group data and project evaluations, the DreamArts model of Community Performance was assessed against their Theory of Change models. The report commended DreamArts as “a model of exemplary practice within the Youth Services sphere”. The programmes were evaluated being highly successful in delivering numerous key impacts for Children and Young People. These include: achieving a greater sense of self-worth, developing coping skills and building resilience, improved relationships with adults and peers, awareness of their impact on the world, ability to make better life choices, engagement in further learning, reductions in negative behaviour and having fun & enjoying themselves. The research then outlined various recommendations for future development and dissemination of this model.
The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
Dialogue is honoured to be able to partner with course staff and students from the MA Applied Theatre Programme at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. We are very proud to have been able to teach the postgraduate students at the school about our methodology of Participatory Documentation. In addition, we have hosted postgraduate students on placement from the university who make an invaluable contribution to our Documentation Programme.
Crossing Bridges Outcome Evaluation Study
Chris, our Founder & Director, has worked on an Outcome Evaluation assessment of “Crossing Bridges”, a Community Performance programme that works with youth participants at Covenant House, a homeless shelter in Manhattan, New York. The research was co-authored with Dr Selina Busby from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London.
The Crossing Bridges programmes sees Broadway artists tutoring, and working alongside, the youth participants who not only learn performance skills, but who also stage a short production on a professional stage by the end of the project. The report explores the success that the young participants have on the programme in terms of developing: Artistic Talent; Expression through the Arts; Camaraderie, Collaboration & Community; Changing Identities; and Transferable Skills.