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Performance in the Community: Amateur Drama and Community Theatre

  • Elizabeth Howard
Chapter

Abstract

Considering community-based performances as cultural phenomena, this chapter outlines the trajectory of amateur drama and community theatre in Ireland during the twentieth century. It reflects how both movements were microcosms of, and reactions to, prevailing social and political structures, and situates their development in relation to events such as the Irish War of Independence, the introduction of Ireland’s first Arts Act in 1951, the violence that occurred in the North during the 1960s and 1970s, and the Arts Council’s attempt to increase participation in and knowledge of the arts in the regions. Looking at the Arts Council’s role in the development of amateur and community drama, Cochrane’s idea of how society has come to place an “emphasis on professionalism” is foregrounded in relation to the public funding these movements have or have not received. In terms of amateur drama, public funding decisions have influenced a major split in the movement and prompted one association to remove the word “amateur” from its title. In certain community arts cases such as with Waterford Arts-for-All, public funding has encouraged local arts infrastructure to flourish. Both movements continue to be mainstays of cultural activity in Ireland, and are largely produced because of a community interest in coming together to perform.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth Howard
    • 1
  1. 1.Waterford Institute of TechnologyWaterfordIreland

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