Who the workbook is for & how it works

This workbook is for anyone interested in collaborating on a project that uses community-based theatre as a creative platform for working alongside the people whose voices and visions are essential to, and mostly absent from, public direction-setting for the Cities we live in. We imagine (hope) readers will include:

  • Socially-engaged theatre practitioners and artists
  • Community and self-advocates
  • Social service providers and policy makers
  • Arts and social science educators and students

We encourage readers to approach the workbook in the way that is most useful to your position, concerns, and interests. To aid in this, below are brief descriptions of the workbook’s chapters. Also note that the highlighted sections below are internal links that, when clicked, will bring you directly to the indicated section. We’ve placed these here and throughout the workbook to allow readers to explore freely. To return to where you were, just hit the ‘back’ arrow in the upper left hand corner of your browser or find your place via the ‘contents’ menu on the upper left in the workbook’s header. (For more on the mechanics of navigating these pages see A note on navigation.)

The first two chapters are written with everyone in mind. About Transforming Stories, Driving Change provides readers with an introduction to TSDC: the project’s motivations, goals, and an overview of four concepts that are integral to TSDC’s creative approach. The chapter closes with a discussion of prompts, the creative tool we use to set the core concepts into motion. Collaborating With Uncommon Partners addresses the importance, when developing a TSDC play, of bringing together a range of community partners — theatre facilitators and artists, community and self-advocates, social service providers, policy makers, educators — and the various contributions and roles of each constituency.

The next four chapters take readers inside TSDC’s workshop process. While potentially of interest to all readers, these sections are especially geared toward theatre practitioners interested in facilitating performance creation workshops with goals that are similar to TSDC, as well as community partners who would like to learn more about the process. The Art (and Craft) of Facilitation opens with a discussion of the importance of aligning facilitation methods with the project’s goals and of working with community partners. We then embark on a discussion of the more pragmatic aspects of workshop facilitation and close the section with a reflection on how we approach care and accountability within TSDC workshops. Workshop Activities & Exercises outlines fundamental components of TSDC performance creation workshops including check-ins, story circles, warm-ups, and TSDC’s approach to using Image Theatre. We’ve also included in this section a menu of sample theatre workshop warm-up exercises along with tips for things to keep in mind. In the final two chapters in this quartet, we use examples from TSDC plays to illustrate both the underlying rationale and the ‘how’ of Creating TSDC Performance Scripts and TSDC Set & Prop Design.

Chapter seven takes us to The Performance Event itself! Again, while potentially of interest to all readers, this section is particularly geared toward members of the project team who are involved in promoting, preparing for, and hosting the performance event. It addresses subjects like how to find the right audience and the right space for the event, preparing the audience for their somewhat expanded role, and designing and facilitating post-performance activities. The section closes with a menu of post-performance activities that includes the underlying rationale for the different activities and tips on things to keep in mind.

In our final chapter, Prompting Ongoing Conversations, we step back from the workbook’s how-to focus to reflect on ways forward. We talk about some of the things that we think would need to be addressed for a project like this — or the social and artistic processes at the core of projects like this — to be sustained and furthered. We reflect on things wish we had been able to do more of. Things we set in motion (and still hope to do some day). Things we dreamt/dream of doing. And things we’ve undertaken in the wake of the pandemic. Our hope throughout the workbook (and made explicit in this chapter) is to spark new connections: between ideas, people, projects, worlds.


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Transforming Stories, Driving Change Copyright © by Helene Vosters, Catherine Graham, Chris Sinding is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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