Post-Workers Theatre (PWT) is a design troupe who investigate performative persuasion and modes of agitation.
What could the future of politically
engaged performance look like and how might it be designed?
PWT is an active research project that considers what a post-capitalist form of politically engaged performance could be, by looking into the history and function of workers theatre of the past, and the current conditions for workers today through political, technological and social lenses. By mapping the origins of informative and subversive performance, PWT will consider the ways in which emerging forms of representation can update the ideas found in the workers theatre, by studying what both 'workers' and 'theatre' have become in the 21st century, and how they might operate in an uncertain future.
Workers Theatre in its 20th century, explicitly political form can be tracked through groups aiming to agitate for social change. Within these often amateur creative enterprises, multiple areas of creativity and expression were cultivated, from satirical writing, technological experiments, participatory concepts and contemporaneous visual styles. Today, the concept of a 'worker' is shifting with the increasingly rapid rise of technological advances combined with a turbulent economic and political landscape. These conditions have also rapidly altered many forms of communication and performance, making an abstract concept of theatre far richer in scope, scale and engagement. What could the future of politically engaged performance look like and how might it be designed?
PWT will act as a design troupe producing a variety of outcomes, from public participatory projects to research based pod-casts and alternative forms of publications. Through engagement with a variety of sources and participants, PWT aims to become a repository for shifting forms of the immersion in opinions, perceptions and persuasion. Outcomes would equally describe and speculate on topics surrounding a future of performative action, political engagement and a theatre of ideas.
Cicely Hamilton wrote, produced and directed 'A Pageant of Great Women' in 1909, an allegorical and optimistic piece of political and theatrical agitation. By re-visiting iconic women from history, the narrative formed a playful yet powerful scenario to discuss a feminist perspective on emancipation. The play became internationally renowned within the women's movement and proved successful on wider populist stages, touring for 3 years between 1910-1913.
A Pageant of Great Women, was a complicated and progressive form of designed engagement, utilising multiple creative relationships, both conceptually and practically. The methods involved all aspects of its production, from the practical staging and costuming, to the structures controlling the wider touring and re-staging of the play. At its heart, A Great Pageant was an energetic and multi-layered form of critique. It was a performative project that not only promoted on stage new and progressive gender attitudes, but also a creative relationship to managing politically motivated messages using entertainment media.
Tomorrow's Great Pageant is a Post Workers Theatre production that aims to engage new and existing social groups with issues surrounding both the political and the creative. The past issues surrounding suffrage will be combined with present and future positions of gender. Workshops will perform active ways of debating and co-writing in order to transform these ideas into new dialogue and an updated script for a 21st century non binary approach to gender. These actions will form a network of contemporary voices from allied groups who want to comment on gender and freedom.
Focusing on key areas concerned with the production of theatrical agitation; Script, Costume and Backdrop, the activities will bridge traditional forms of visual communication with modern techniques of interaction. Participants will be able to get hands on with both the concepts and actions involved in making characters, concerns and statements about the promotion of socially and politically charged performance.
PWT is a collaborative practice that brings together DASHNDEM, [Dash Macdonald and Demitrios Kargotis] and Nicholas Mortimer.
Dash n’ Dem are a design action group whose wide-ranging participatory projects center on political education and engagement. Ideas inhabit varied media and platforms as a vehicle for agitation. Exploring co-creation as a form of activism that provokes diverse audiences to speak out and think critically and creatively.
Nicholas Mortimer's practice considers how to use scenography to interrogate emerging techno-political concerns. His work blends narratological techniques with emerging forms of authorship in order to design new ways of considering research and speculation.
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