Ecologies of Amateur Theatre

  • Helen Nicholson
  • Nadine Holdsworth
  • Jane Milling


The opening chapter introduces debates about amateur theatre that frame the book. It argues that amateur theatre is frequently unrecognised as part of the cultural ecology of contemporary theatre, and yet it is a significant aspect of many people’s cultural and creative lives and at the heart of many communities. By describing amateur theatre in ecological terms, that chapter opens questions about its processes and practices as a multifaceted field of cultural production. It argues that an ecology of practices recognises the shared knowledge and know-how that amateurs possess, the friendships and informal networks that it inspires, the ways in which it shapes lives, defines communities and contributes to place-making. The chapter makes the case for the study of amateur theatre as ‘feeling-work’, an empathetic study that, whilst alert to its tensions and contradictions, brings an act of cultural recognition to an overlooked area of creative participation. Identifying the renewed interest in the amateur in the twenty-first century, the chapter raises questions about the place of amateur theatre in the contemporary amateur turn.


Amateur theatre Amateur turn Cultural value Amateur creativity 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen Nicholson
    • 1
  • Nadine Holdsworth
    • 2
  • Jane Milling
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Drama, Theatre and DanceRoyal Holloway, University of LondonEghamUK
  2. 2.School of Theatre and Performance StudiesUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK
  3. 3.Department of DramaUniversity of ExeterExeterUK

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