Call for Participants

Verbatim Theatre at the Crossroads of Community: How “Real” Words Bond, Bend, and Break Social Coherence

In the wake of a seemingly resurgent practice in verbatim theatre, one finds enthusiastic explorations of its authenticity, pedagogy, democratizing capacities, and empathic potential, often side-by-side with expressions of its unique ethical risks and concerns over appropriate practices and precautions. Several scholars and practitioners, in highlighting such empathic connections and ethical consequences, seem to evidence both the powerful positive and negative effects sometimes experienced by the communities who are formed by, and interact with, verbatim theatre. The aim of this panel is to bring particular focus to how communities and sub-communities form, adapt, and change in the creation, presentation, and reception of verbatim theatre situated within individual classrooms, cultural coalitions, artistic collectives, or research networks. In particular, three main threads of verbatim theatre and community will be explored: the social participant in verbatim, the pedagogy of verbatim, and the research community’s larger relationship with verbatim theatre. Some potential research questions might include:

  • How does verbatim theatre create communities and sub-communities? When, where, and for whom are these communities beneficial? Harmful?
  • What effects on already extant communities might verbatim practice have?
  • What is the place of verbatim theatre in increasingly globalized, digitized, and fragmented communities?
  • How and to what end does verbatim operate as an increasingly popular pedagogical impetus in drama curricula?
  • How is creative work and artistic pedagogy such as verbatim theatre responsive/responsible to the larger research community?
  • What is the place of the researcher within verbatim practice i.e. as ethnographer, as witness, as playwright?

Panelists will be asked to present a paper of approximately 15 minutes, before engaging in a wider discussion with the other participants and the attending audience. 300 word proposals, along with a short biography, should be sent to and by 15 January 2016.