Collective Encounters specialises in using theatre as a tool for social change, and in 2019 they set up a Centre for Excellence in Participatory Theatre.
Their Making Digital Participatory Theatre series of films is free and available to watch online now.
The centre promotes the sharing of knowledge and practices amongst participatory theatre makers in the UK and beyond, and to provide training opportunities for theatre makers at different stages of their career.
Collective Encounters did not know at the time that this Centre for Excellence in Participatory Theatre would play an important role in supporting the national and international arts sector during a global pandemic.
Over the last 9 months the work of the Centre for Excellence in Participatory Theatre has had one ambition: to provide networking, knowledge exchange and training opportunities to enable theatre makers to adapt their practice during social distancing.
During this time 700 participatory theatre makers have attended a whole range of events to do just this. Attendees have come from the UK, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, Canada, America, The Netherlands, France and Germany.
A new library of resources on delivering participatory theatre during social distancing has also been set up, and a number of new publications have been written exploring the challenges and benefits of digital, analogue and hybrid participatory theatre practice.
Most recently the Centre has launched a series of highly practical audio-visual case studies and essays, Making Digital Participatory Theatre. These case studies explore the work of those making participatory theatre using digital means and platforms both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Written and presented by interactive theatre maker Maya Chowdhry, the series takes an in-depth look at differences between a live and digital theatre making process; hybrid (live and digital) approaches to theatre performances; digital tools and platforms that can be used to distribute participatory theatre performances and more.
The case studies explore the work of Collective Encounters, Coney, Forest Tribe Theatre, Humblebee Creative, Nathan Powell and Virtual Migrants.