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Turning Theatre into Law, and Other Spaces of Politics

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Caleb Johnston

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Abstract

Abstract: We assess Practicing Democracy , a play created by Headlines Theatre in Vancouver, Canada, which was the first attempt to deploy Augusto Boal’s legislative theatre in North America. The goal of this project was to use forum theatre to generate creative solutions to the dangers created by provincial government cuts to social welfare, and to work with local government to turn some of these recommendations into new local government laws. This goal was not attained, although the report produced by Headlines Theatre may have supported other local initiatives. We examine the ways in which local politicians and planners maintained the distinction between expert and amateur, so as to undermine the credibility of public input. A bureaucratic process of classification and abstraction also inhibited the recommendations from being turned into law, and reinstated the expertise of politicians and bureaucrats. We balance this assessment with a reading of spaces that are excessive to this rational calculation: the city as a concrete site of embodied, creative spatial disruptions; and theatre as a pedagogical public sphere.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Pratt G, Johnston C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cultural Geographies

Year: 2007

Volume: 14

Issue: 1

Pages: 92-113

Print publication date: 01/03/2007

ISSN (print): 1474-4740

ISSN (electronic): 1477-0881

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd

URL: https://doi.org/10.1177/1474474007072821

DOI: 10.1177/1474474007072821


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