Rediscovering and communicating the rich history of the US democratic arts has been a constant in Roadside’s advocacy. Passing on to new generations this legacy and its lessons about the role of art and culture in organizing and movement building is a priority.
To build the democratic arts field, Roadside Theater co-founded Alternate ROOTS (in 1976 with others at Highlander Center), American Festival Project (in 1981 with John O’Neal), and The Global Network for Cultural Rights(in 1992 with Marta Moreno Vega).
Roadside is a long-standing member of the Network of Ensemble Theaters, and Dudley Cocke has served on various national network boards, including Grantmakers in the Arts (2002-2007), Theater Communications Group (1998-2003), Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life (2007-2013), and Art of the Rural (2013 - present). The common question for all these efforts: How can networks support and encourage transformative action based on shared values of equity and social justice? How can regional and national networks act to reduce the organized exploitation of people and places?