Is starting a Community Cultural Development project one of your New Year's Resolutions? In this podcast, Megan Sandberg-Zakian, a theater-maker based in Somerville, MA working with Underground Railway Theater as a TCG Future Leader, interviews Roadside Theater's artistic director Dudley Cocke.
Trying to better understand Roadside's process so she can expand her own theater practice to include collaborations with community, Megan asks Dudley: In grassroots theater, how do you balance high-quality aesthetics and politics? What are currently Roadside's dream projects and collaborations? Are there younger people making work in the same spirit as Roadside?
Megan describes No Room for Wishing, a one-man show she directed about the Occupy Movement in Boston that calls for more transparent, participatory governance in the US. Strategizing about overcoming people's perceptions that the play is too local and too political, Dudley suggests she use an organizing approach in which the performance is a jumping-off point for the audience, in Boston and beyond, to tell their own stories sparked by the play's topics. Roadside uses a particular methodology for such Story Circles, which then can lead to individual and collective action on the topic. Cuing off Megan's experience in TCG's Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, the conversation concludes with a discussion about the professional performing arts field. Dudley describes the forces reinforcing elite audiences, including the narrow content and aesthetic approach of the plays, the enforced protocols of the performance space, and the high cost of attendance. Give it a listen and let us know what you think.
Click here for a full transcript of the podcast.