Culture and Community Researchers’ Network: October 2012

Arts and Development
Xris Reardon: “The Legacy of Augusto Boal’s work on Theatre of the Oppressed: where have we gone, where we have come to”.
Chris Parkinson: “The ethics and aesthetics of community-based arts practice”.
Cymbeline Buhler: “Peace-­‐Building Theatre in Sri Lanka. First Steps and Considerations”.

Xris Reardon: “The Legacy of Augusto Boal’s work on Theatre of the Oppressed: where have we gone, where we have come to”.

Abstract: This presentation will explore the question of Boal’s legacy, not in terms of it’s current practice by individuals, and companies across the globe, but in terms of my own experiences of practicing TO in Australia, Canada, and parts of the ‘developing’ world over the last ten years. I talk about how I first came to TO, to the work, having been a participant in a community arts process (full of ideals), why I decided to train as a facilitator. How I came to understand the field of CCD, drawing attention to the current context in which the work now sits, with in the creative industries, and the contradictions inherent within this for emancipatory practice. I suggest that with in this terrain Boal’s questions about revolutionary practices are thwart, however such a concept deserves critical engagement. I explore how the essence of this ideal, in my practice, might be reframed to include a focus on affirming alternative subjectivities, through a transpersonal practice.

Over the last ten years Xris has been working as a community theatre facilitator primarily with Third Way Theatre ( However, she also free-lances with other theatre companies both here and overseas (including 5 weeks spent with Teatro Pasmi in Chile in 2009). Most recently she spent two years in Thailand working with using theatre with community to explore the issues of trafficking, and state-less peoples’ rights. Her focus tends to be on representation, an exploration of who has the power to shape our biographies and what does this mean for the socio-political reality of ‘our’ lives. Themes explored have focused on: intimate partner violence in CLAD communities, mental health, homophobia, bullying in schools. She primarily utilizes the methods of Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed (TO), to support community engagement and ownership; towards an agenda of transformation.

Chris Parkinson

Chris will present on talk the ethics/aesthetics of community-based arts practice and reciprocity and collaboration in ‘the field’, drawing on his experience in a collaborative street art and literacy project in Timor-Leste ( He is about to commence a Masters in Community Cultural Development at the VCA where his research will focus on public art and post-conflict communities.