How theatre can be used as a participatory method to investigate embodied forms of communication. Our project is two-fold: first participatory research through performance, second the communication of ethnographic knowledge by the reactivation of that dynamic with a sensorial installation.
Our visual participatory method is based on fieldwork conducted in a migrant group involved in a theatre lab. Filming is part of the process. Themes like migration, housing, discrimination and borders are treated in a shared dynamic interaction. This interaction is revealed in the experience of the body challenging the dominant discourse on how borders are physical entities not only in the land, but also in the body itself creating a common emotional horizon.
There are various levels of participation: first of all the acting itself; secondly rotation of participants from acting to filming, putting themselves in an active role in the exercise of looking and image making. The ones that are filming reproduce the relation between actors and active spectators. This interaction creates not only elicitation during the performance, but also a double elicitation within the participants when they see the recorded audiovisual material.
We propose the promotion of the methodology of the theatre workshop: a video installation with an itinerary that contextualize and then pass to a participatory theatre process. All the action is recorded and then a discussion is encouraged.
We plan the activity three times a day, with the duration of one hour each in the reception area. We invite the public to participate in the performance or as an active spectator filming (8 to 10 people). This is a way of communicating sensorially to the audience and participants the reflection about embodied knowledge and emotions.
Débora Pinho Mateus