Theatre for life

Vancouver company Theatre for Living encourages audience participation

Theatre for Living artistic and managing director David Diamond takes questions from the audience during his company's presentation of Two Degrees of Fear and Desire.

One of the first things David Diamond plans to ask Victoria audience members attending the Theatre for Living event is, “How many people are here to see a play?”

You see, this is not your traditional theatre form. There are no actors, no script. It’s kind theatre from the inside out.

Corporations in Our Heads, the latest offering from Diamond’s socially and psychologically tuned-in company, encourages people in the audience to share stories of how corporate messaging affects the way they live their lives, or how they feel about themselves. From there, they or others in the crowd get up and act out those messages in often-hilarious improvisational style.

“But it isn’t only about consuming,” Diamond says. “At the heart of it, it’s about the messages from corporations that affect our relationships with ourselves and others, because that’s what drives everything else.”

Diamond doesn’t see consumption as the great evil, more so over-consumption.

“Our role here isn’t just to empty the cabinet,” he says, speaking metaphorically of humans’ role on this planet. “But the messages we get about consumption lead us to empty the cabinet.”

Theatre for Living was founded in Vancouver as Headlines Theatre in 1981 by a group of politically active artists including Diamond, who became artistic director in 1984. It evolved from Brazilian director Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, which used theatre to get discussions going about local issues of importance and has become an international organization.

“Originally the idea (for our company) was to expose the headlines that were out there, but the nature of the work really shifted to the communities,” Diamond says. “It really is more about (local) dialogue than saying ‘here’s the monster to defeat.’”

Diamond and company had success with a previous participatory production, Two Degrees of Fear and Desire, in which audience members spoke about the barriers to them taking action on global warming.

While the subject matter can be very personal and serious, in the end, these community events are still about entertainment and being creative.

“We are actually there to engage in art making,” Diamond says. “It’s called Theatre for Living, not lecture for living. Part of this is a recognition that all of us are artists; all of us have lives valuable enough to make theatre about.”

The Corporations in Our Heads tour comes to the University of Victoria’s David Lam Auditorium on Friday, Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m., and First Metropolitan United Church, 932 Balmoral Rd. at 7 p.m. on Oct. 19. Admission is by donation.

For more information about Theatre for Living, visit headlinestheatre.com.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

From Mick Jagger to the Dalai Lama: Mary Kerr has set the stage

Vancouver Island set designer wins national Molson Prize Laureate

Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre to host a trio of acts

Aaron Pritchett, Alex Cuba and Valdy will each play four shows

Pacific Opera takes music to the streets

Artists travel around Capital Region District this summer for live performences

SKAMpede goes live in July

Beloved annual event returns with changes, pre-registration online

Victoria Flamenco Festival goes virtual for 2020 event

The show will go online from July 23 to 26

Parksville filmmaker nominated for provincial Leo Award

Joel Grenz tabbed in ‘Best Music Video’ category

Campbell River teen produces quarantine musical

Ryver Santos Cegnar performed for friends and family over Facebook

Nanaimo Art Gallery summer camp moves programming online due to COVID-19

Teenage artists have until the end of next week to apply to Dazzle Camouflage

Symphony pop-up concerts coming to central Vancouver Island

Only 40 tickets available for each Vancouver Island Symphony private backyard show

Courtenay theatre gets support for livestream ‘hybrid’ shows this year

Island Coastal Economic Trust funds help Sid Williams Theatre with infrastructure, training

Virtual film industry career fair offers chance to talk with the experts

Experts in 11 different departments, three film union representative will be in attendance

Victoria Classic Boat Festival cancelled due to safety concerns

Organizers say Inner Harbour doesn’t provide enough space for physical distancing

Infringing festival finds a way to dance during pandemic

Nanaimo’s Crimson Coast Dance Society holding drive-in, micro and physically distanced events

Most Read