The Center for Performance and Civic Practice researches, aggregates, innovates and supports Civic Practice (the production of new theatre work that originates in partnership between artists and non-arts centered organizations in service to the needs of the non-arts partner).
The Center defines Civic Practice not solely as plays, but as theatre activity of diverse forms in varied public and private contexts. The initiating impulse for this work falls on a spectrum of desired outcomes: Advocacy, Dialogue, Story-Sharing, Civic Application & Cross-Sector Innovation.
Artists engage in producing new work across this spectrum in communities around the nation with regularity, but due to the frequent low visibility of these projects and a scarcity of shared vocabulary, the way we integrate them into ongoing national cross field dialogue is severely limited. Dialogues about theatre, civic discourse and public utility most often focus on approaches bound up in existing institutional and formal models of audience engagement. Projects that utilize tools of meaning-making and collaboration to produce work of public utility and civic activity require advocacy and capacity-building.
Initial research funding during the Center for Performance and Civic Practice’s start-up period has come from The Center for the Theater Commons at ArtsEmerson.