Creole Performance Cycle
Our artistic project aims at blurring the boundaries between the involved artists and citizens by promoting contributors as actors in intermedial performances, which will merge into our Creole Performance Cycle (4 original performances to be staged by mixed artistic equips of different nationalities).
We will invite citizens not only to offer their opinions on the state of their belonging to their community, but also to perform their issues and claims by the direction of the involved artists. Citizens as the owners of heritage become performers of heritage in an artistic endeavour. Therefore, the Project wants to engage the audience by calling citizens and cultural operators alike to build up on interpretations and visions on places, mindsets, and conflicts – be them cultural, social or political – and to make an artistic leap together.
Hence, the basic idea behind the project lies in the attempt to experiment processes of artistic creation based on the creolisation of diverse European national theatrical traditions, as well as on the relationship between the performers themselves, on one side, and the performers and the public, on the other. Our privileged tool for realising such an idea is PanSpeech, a social media inspired by the crowdsourcing philosophy.
The Creole Performance Cycle shall then absorb this complex process by displaying the unpredictable results such a creole approach and methodology bring about.
Therefore, we call on artistic excellence and high-profile institutions in Europe to collaborate in order to establish and negotiate newly shared commons, thus raising awareness in audiences and encouraging debate. In order to remain faithful to the theatrical and social perspectives of our project, we will require that artists conform to the following three directives:
- the performance should be experimental, interdisciplinary and collectively devised according to the principles of écriture-en-scène, so that the work of actors and performers becomes the foundation of artistic creation itself;
- performances should limit the use of verbal utterances as much as possible in order to avoid the imperative of English. Performances should rather stress body centrality and stage action;
- the performance should propose innovative forms of audience engagement.
However, this remains, in all of its features, a project revolving around the notion of Performing Heritage. Indeed, this Project promotes interactive and experimental performances. We will allow performers to interrogate the processes of creolisation and the development of new commons together with spectators as co-makers of the theatrical event. Theatre and performance as practice-as-research allow us to apply, develop and play with these notions in a meaningful and rigorous way.
In our project, artistic outputs and scholarly enquiry are far from being merely juxtaposed. We believe that aesthetic experience through theatricality enjoys full epistemic value and is able to convey meanings at their fullest extent. Theatre always performs intangible heritage, keeps alive a shared memory, confirms or reshapes traditional knowledge. People collected around the stage share the same competence in that very moment. As interpreters of the performance, spectators are engaged together with the performers in the joint complex work of both cultural production and identity setting around cultural intangible assets. Thus, in this project the combination of theatrical practice and academic counselling should support young artists in the process of exploring, sharing and performing cultural heritage, in order to establish creolised intangible commons.
The artistic fieldwork is designed as a further chance for letting directors and actors meet up again after the previous workshop. Directors will travel abroad to their respective hosting institutions. Directors are then asked to spend some time in the place where they decided to go. During this time, he/she will discover the territory, meet locals and carry out research for their production. The aim is to get inspiration and a deeper understanding of the social and political context in which he/she will be called to operate, as well as to select a venue that may fruitfully host the future performance. The directors are also invited to meet colleagues in the hosting Drama Academy in order to exchange ideas on the social role of theatre in that specific locality and its relationship to the main project topics. So, each director makes an artistic preparatory fieldwork by sharing ethnographic methodologies with the researchers.
On their side, researchers from Siena and Canterbury will side directors in the observation of the local social and cultural environment, trying to raise points relevant to the project as well as on which aspects the artistic creation could focus. They will also make interviews and try to individuate and engage the potential local audience. However, as a general rule, researchers do not directly interfere with the process of artistic creation.
Artistic preparatory fieldworks will follow one another in order to let researchers attend all visiting periods of selected directors in their hosting territories.
Creative Creole Residencies are practical artistic workshops aiming at the production of public theatrical performances. They are devised and performed in the participant Drama Academies through 14-day productive/training residencies with local actors. Directors work with their hosting drama institution abroad (with the supervision of local teachers) in order to test their artistic projects on the ground and set the conditions for the play of identities.
During the creative residencies, academic researchers will observe the process of artistic creation and help artists in fulfilling the performance with any kind of contribution (discussions, information, and so forth). Researchers, who in turn are called to creolise their approaches and methodologies from performance studies and social sciences, will analyse each performance and its multilevel effectiveness through the perspective of different disciplines. The aim is to evaluate through a comparative study the impact of theatrical practices and performances on the construction of new cultural forms of European belonging and citizenship.
Beside giving reflectiveness to the artistic process, researchers’ overall task consists of the observation and analysis of the devising processes, the Creative Creole Residencies and the Creole Performance Cycle (see Action 5). A scientific publication will gather the outputs produced by the academic team.
The creolisation process emerges out of the interaction between different artistic traditions, represented by the directors on one side, and the local artists and supervisors on the other. The result of this professional interaction, as well as director’s original idea, will be strongly influenced by the social and cultural settings where performance takes place. Thereby, also the local context will finally play a role on the stage, before the audience’s eye.
The technical team on the stage – either a formal or informal venue, also according to the aims of each director’s artistic project – will be recruited locally. Through the creolisation of existing and traditional techniques and approaches to theatre, under the responsibility of the director, the artists will design a performance highlighting the processes of construction of a common cultural heritage, which should be meaningful at a local and/or European level. The feedback from the targeted potential local audience is to be registered in order to improve the future strategies of audience development as well as to produce further materials for the evaluation of the project (group and one-to-one interviews, questionnaires, multimedia documents, proposals, comments and so on). Audience responses are also to be gathered and disseminated through the crowd-sourcing platform, which remains operative throughout the project activities.