It’s an exciting time to be involved in arts for social change with so much going on. I recently found out about a group in Liverpool called Collective Encounters that uses theatre as a tool for social change. Professional actors and community members collaborate to create dramatic pieces that explore lives and issues that are rarely depicted on the stage. Consumerism, for example, is the issue that their youth troupe is currently working with.
Collective Encounters also aims to bring theatrical performances to new audiences and new spaces, exploring the psycho-geography of the city. Their current project Streetscapes is transforming stories told by people who live and work on the streets into an opera which will be performed in doorways of downtown Liverpool.
Overall, since their debut in 2004 Collective Encounters have engaged over 750 community members in “creative research” about their lives and the issues closest to their hearts and has produced eight performances. Their aim is to entertain, to stimulate debate over and critical thinking about key concerns facing British society, and ultimately to create positive change in the lives of people and communities.