Arc news: March 2007

Arc with business
Arc with business

'Theatre doesn’t have to be passive', says Johanna Thomas-Corr

Arc reviewed in City A.M. - London's new business daily

DO ART and business mix? Carole Pluckrose, the artistic director of Arc Theatre certainly believes so. She is on a mission to use actors to bring social issues to the fore.

It’s a brave move - after all most people within big business may be reluctant to have their opinions challenged by a bunch of actors.

At Islington Council, Arc is tackling the subject of climate change.

Clifford Oliver, Arc’s narrator, is standing between an audience of business people, councillors and school children, and four actors on stage, each representing a different opinion on environmental matters.

“We’re going to ask you to work through the situation and try and find a solution,” he said, before the actors ran off to ask the crowd for their input.

This is not the theatre you’ll see at the RSC or the National, neither is this the audience participation that is expected at pantomimes. This is forum theatre, and with spectators expected to get involved.

Arc is not interested in entertainment for entertainment’s sake - it is here to ignite change.

But can drama really change the way we think and the way we behave?

“It’s too simplistic to say ‘will it or won’t it change things?’,” says Pluckrose. “But I do think that the theatre can provide seminal experiences in our lives which can trigger the imagination and give rise to new thought.”

Pluckrose may not believe a piece of drama can heal society’s woes, but she is no doubt a theatre evangelical.

In 1984, she co-founded Arc Theatre with fellow actor Clifford Oliver (Olly), with the aim of “dramatising taboo issues”. The group has travelled the world performing pieces on issues such as domestic violence, gun crime and climate change, to the public and private sector, and for schools.

Arc takes a brief from each client and works out general scenarios for the actors to explore.

The action is managed by a “facilitator” who may stop the scenes at any point to elicit suggestions from the audience as to how to reach a successful conclusion.

A theatre workshop may sound cringeworthy to some, but Arc have had a lot of take-up, devising pieces for clients like, McDonald's and Unilever. Many firms see this medium as a nonthreatening tool for examining difficult issues.

Arc Theatre was instrumental in bringing the issue of racism in football to the forefront of public awareness through a trilogy of plays (Kicking Out, Ooh Ah Showab Khan and My England) which were commissioned by HSBC.

Pluckrose insists forum theatre is not about ramming political messages down the audience’s throats.

“Our work is about social justice, inequality, prejudice, and we have also devised pieces of team issues within business. But we don’t go in presenting an opinion. We go in as storytellers.”

Johanna Thomas-Corr - City A.M., Thursday 15 March 2007

Download full article (PDF, 517k)

City A.M. is London’s first free daily business newspaper - covering news on the markets, global and local business news as well as contemporary lifestyle features. City A.M. is read by over 100,000 professionals throughout The City, Canary Wharf and other areas of high business concentration. For more information, visit:http//www.cityam.com/

 

Arc diary of events

Until 18 January '17
Sheltered Housing residents for Havering SNB
School for Scammers community safety drama programme

24 Jan - 9 Feb '17
London secondary schools for Barnet EBP
Conflict Resolution forum theatre

3 February '17
Plashet School, Newham
No More Whispers FGM awareness training

Feb - May '17
Secondary schools for Epping Forest District Council
Out of School drama workshops

Feb - May '17
Primary and secondary schools for Havering CCG
Lucky Me health & wellbeing drama programme

27 Feb - 14 Mar '17
Hertsmere District Council
School & community forum theatre

Until March '17
Secondary schools for Havering SNB
Broadcast internet safety forum theatre

6 - 10 March '17
Secondary schools for Camden Public Safety Team
Crossing Over road safety drama programme

15 March '17
Cumberland School, Newham
Two-Way Street forum theatre

20 - 31 Mar '17
Secondary schools for Havering SNB
Stop & Think stop & search awareness programme

20 Mar - 7 Apr '17
Secondary schools for Barking & Dagenham SNB
Stop & Think stop & search awareness programme

Until summer '17
Warren Comprehensive School, Dagenham
Prestige healthy relationships for girls weekly workshops

Throughout '17
Primary & secondary school staff
Arc's Female Genital Mutilation INSETs with Leyla Hussein

Throughout '17
B&D young people for LBBD MOPAC & Jack Petchey
Raised Voices female leadership programme

News archive

January 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 March 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 July 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006 May 2006 April 2006