Date of Award
Master of Arts
What constitutes an artistic community? Why do people come together and form a group to make art despite all the sacrifices that they need to make in terms of time, space, and resources? (Why) Do we need Community (and) Theatre? This paper is about an interpretive and auto-ethnographic field research about a local community theatre, The Stage Company, in Carbondale, Illinois. It aims to demonstrate how theatre can be a bridge between community and self and lead them to come closer, change and grow by challenging each other. It provides an extensive description of The Stage Company by focusing on the cultural and performative features of the community theatre and the individual experiences of the company members as well as the journey of the ethnographer in conducting the research. How might a `community theatre' function in the lives of its members within a particular socio-cultural context and why would a researcher, who is a cultural, ethnic, and lingual other in the field, choose to spend a year with that community theatre? What does she find and learn about the various definitions of the concept of the community theatre, the features of community theatre culture in US, the place of The Stage Company within the theoretical definition of community theatre, the role of The Stage Company in the lives of its members and the role of this research in the ethnographer's life in terms of finding her own future path in relation to theatre and community?
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