Imagining a New Society Through Applied TheatreTuğçe Gözde Pelister
This article aims to understand and discuss applied theater in terms of its definition, scope, and potential for creating social change, and to present suggestions in this context. Essentially, applied theater is a theater practice that is applied to selected target groups or communities, and with participants are being expected to exhibit the expected change and improvement. Unfortunately, examples of applied theater in Türkiye are limited, but significant examples are found in countries such as America, Hong Kong, England, and even Uganda. Türkiye has always had characteristic social conditions, particularly in this century, and significant social, identity, and class divisions have emerged here. Discussing whether communities can be the carriers of a new society through applied theater, by starting with specific groups in the face of inadequate or non-beneficial state policies will strengthen hope for the future. In this context, this study reveals whether applied theater provides objective results that can turn this hope into reality.
Uygulamalı Tiyatro ile Yeni Bir Toplum HayaliTuğçe Gözde Pelister
Bu makale, uygulamalı tiyatroyu tanımı, kapsamı ve toplumsal değişim yaratma potansiyeli bakımından anlamak, tartışmak ve bu bağlamda öneriler ortaya koymayı amaçlamaktadır. Uygulamalı tiyatro, toplumsal değişimi kolaylaştırmak için yapılan tüm tiyatro ve drama türlerini kapsayan bir şemsiye tanımdır. Seçilmiş hedef grup veya topluluklarla uygulanan, ve katılımcıların beklenen değişim ve iyileşmeyi göstermesinin umulduğu bir tiyatro uygulamaları bütünüdür. Uygulamalı tiyatronun Türkiye’de örnekleri maalesef kısıtlıdır fakat Amerika, Hong Kong, İngiltere hatta Uganda gibi ülkelerde oldukça önemli örnekleri mevcuttur. Toplumsal koşulları her zaman karakteristik özellikler taşıyan ülkemizde, özellikle bu yüzyılda büyük sosyal, kimliksel ve sınıfsal yarılmalar oluşmuştur. Devlet politikalarının yetersiz ya da çaresiz kaldığı durumlarda, belli gruplarla başlayarak toplulukların uygulamalı tiyatro yardımıyla yeni bir toplum hayalinin taşıyıcıları olup olmayacağını tartışmak, geleceğe dair umudu kuvvetlendirecektir. Bu bağlamda çalışma, uygulamalı tiyatronun bu umudu gerçeğe dönüştürecek nesnel sonuçları olup olmayacağını ortaya koymaktadır.
Historically, theater has helped to reveal society’s conflicts with power within the safe boundaries of art. Social issues around the world have become much more visible with the worsening conditions of the changing century. While technology has made life easier in many ways, the unlimited circulation of information has allowed people to instantly learn what is happening in the rest of the world. This has led to people now comparing their physical, economic, and cultural conditions more with others than in the past. Being able to know and see everything to this extent increases not only social awareness but also reactions. The inherently intertwined nature theater has with society has always helped to keep the possibility of change and transformation alive through theater. In many cultures, communities have used the stage to tell their stories and lives. This has helped individuals show their thoughts, concerns, and anger toward each other and society.
When looking historically at applied theater, its popularity is seen to be related to the social conditions and needs throughout world history. It is known that applied theater is known to have occurred in different ways for its aim of social change. First of all, when one steps back to the beginning of the 20th century, the Workers’ Theatre Movement of the 1920s, Bertolt Brecht’s epic theater, Jerzy Grotowski’s poor theater, and Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop come to the fore as the first practices in the field with their performed plays. When looking at the main types and historicity of, it is seen to be experienced with the communities that make up society. As such, can communities really be the harbingers of social change? The impact of has been seen to expand from primary school students to elderly individuals approaching the end of their lives. Additionally, trauma victims or imprisoned people may not be able to participate in the flow of daily life like other people, but they do make up parts of the general mosaic of society. In this context, perhaps the transformation of applied theatre into a state policy with the goal of social change and development through communities will be able to expand its area of impact even further.
Communities and societies owe their existence to each other. Societies manifest themselves through their complex variable structures and are places where people of different classes, ethnicities, and religions establish their belongings. In addition, the individuals of a community, which consists of more connected relationships compared to wider social formations, are often in communication with one another. In short, while societies consist of wider and more diverse individuals, communities are made up of more similar and closer individuals in terms of shared interests and characteristic features.
When compared structurally, communities’ and societies’ capacities for creating change can be understood to be interdependent. Communities have the potential to create social change. New communities desiring change and communities envisioning a new citizenship can come together as a result of applied theatre’s aim to create change. This community will be formed first, and then it will create an opportunity for awareness and dialogue regarding social issues. The chance for individuals to have their voices heard through theater will turn them into more confident individuals. Most importantly, by creating a new societal narrative through theater, the mythology of a potential new society will emerge from the components of the community and will gradually become more widespread and adopted.
Planning applied theater is important. It should address a specific problem, and the individuals related to this problem should be present as participants in the organization. The current situations of individuals related to the problem and their helplessness and inability to cope with these situations have great importance in determining the limits and type of the theater application. The project stakeholders and institutions that provide financial support are parts of the application. The desire to create change must be related to realistic goals. To understand the whole area, neither attempting to understand how applied theater works when aiming for change nor using the courage provided by the presence of only a few examples of applied theater in Türkiye will certainly not be enough. However, the definition and history of applied theatre will help to discuss what is meant by change and whether this change is real. In addition, by understanding the real-world barriers, change will act as a guide if types of applied theater are to be used as widespread projects for the social change Türkiye will need in the future.