To celebrate the 50th Anniversary in 2020 of its parent organization, Appalachian arts and cultural training center Appalshop, Roadside will publish Art in a Democracy: Selected Plays of Roadside Theater, a two-volume anthology of original Roadside scripts framed by 11 critical essays which examine the plays in their dramaturgical, historical, and contemporary cultural contexts.
The award-winning plays and their accompanying essays will trace Roadside’s rural coalfield origin through its 43-year development of Appalachia’s first regionally-produced body of original musical drama, its experience touring 45 states and six foreign countries, and its proven methodology for building diverse, inclusive audiences reflective of whole communities.
Art in a Democracy: Selected Plays will survey Roadside’s exuberant and widely-performed People’s History of Appalachia series, its intercultural plays co-created with other culturally specific ensembles, and its collaborations with folk artists in Appalachia and Native America.
A robust digital component of the publishing project will make public the ensemble’s grassroots creation and presentation process. This e-edition will explore a century-plus legacy of place-based theater in the United States, as well as make the democratic populist theater tradition both attractive and widely accessible to practitioners and students alike.