In the last decade, there has been an exponential growth in the amount of participatory theatre being produced. What started as a new theatrical experience has now often become a tokenistic trait. Nowadays, participatory performances rarely provide the audience with actual agency and autonomy, but rather an illusion of such. We are Slumber Club, a group of third year Theatre Studies students at the University of Glasgow. From Friday the 17th until Wednesday the 22nd of March we are putting on a project titled Trilogy. We want to return ownership of a theatre performance to you. We intend to move audience interaction from the performance to the process, so the spectator’s active involvement is to contribute items and ideas during the show’s development. When we then perform the final show, created by the spectators, we hope to question these ideas of participation and democracy.
Trilogy is split into three events: Rehearsal, Work in Progress and it ends with the final Performance.
Rehearsal is where the main focus of our research lies, whereby we shift the element of participation from its common location, during the performance, to the rehearsal process. We will enter a studio on Friday 17th March at 14:00, and live within the space for three days. Throughout this time, we will be livestreaming the entire process alongside a live chat where you, the viewers are encouraged to comment your suggestions and opinions. However, we will always reserve the right to reject unanimously ridiculous suggestions. The choice to decline suggestions will be based on both the group and our personal principles and will be explained should we ever choose to say no.
Throughout this process, we intend to become your tools in the making of the performance – you can directly influence what we do in the space and how we interact with each other. We endeavour to remain in the space as a group so that the only development of ideas happens in the studio where you, the audience/participants can bear witness. We hope to examine if this involvement in the process, rather than the performance itself, can create an authentic participatory performance.
Our Work in Progress will take place on Monday 20th of March at 15:00, five hours after the conclusion of Rehearsal. During this section, we will invite you to come into the studio which you’ve been viewing on the livestream to work with us in person on your ideas and the overall performance. Once this is completed, whatever performance has resulted from all the work with participants is what we will perform. No editing of the material will take place after this, only rehearsals of the piece.
This leads us to Performance – the final segment of our project – on Wednesday 22nd March at 6pm in the James Arnott Theatre. It’s time for us to all meet. We invite everyone to come down. Bring your friends, your mum, your dad, your siblings, your pets, your aunts, your uncles, your children, your godchildren, your everything and everyone so we can all see what we have made together. All the details of how you can be a part of the process can be found on our Facebook page. So, check it out and send us your ideas, your stories, your thoughts and we will use them to create a performance for the people, by the people!
Facebook page: @SlumberClubTrilogy
By: Laura Duddy