Performance Affects: Applied Theatre and the End of Effect by James Thompson
Performance Affects, now in paperback and with a new preface, explores performance projects in disaster and war zones to argue that joy, beauty and celebration should be the inspiration for the politics of community-based or participatory performance practice. Applied Theatre has traditionally concentrated on effects - impacts, themes communicated or 'truths' revealed. Performance Affects challenges this orientation by suggesting that an affective realm needs to be the focus for a renewed aesthetic, ethical and radical vision of the practice. Performance projects with child soldiers, storytelling programmes in tsunami-affected areas and prison theatre workshops in post-genocide Rwanda are used to demonstrate the limits of a practice reliant solely on effect - and an alternative is suggested: one that encourages a commitment to pleasure, passion and enjoyment as a starting point for a political-aesthetic practice that acknowledges the importance of our affection for others as a stimulus to social change.