Seminar – The Art and Process of Making Community Theatre

acta seminar

The Art and Process of Making Community Theatre

Join us on Wednesday 25 November 2.00 – 4.00pm for an online, interactive seminar – focusing on the different ways that facilitators and community performers work together to make original, relevant theatre which tells their stories. 

What you’ll learn

The seminar will look at different examples of how the artistic process works:

  • gathering the stories
  • devising and development through workshops
  • how workshops are structured
  • how creative relationships between facilitator/director and community performers are brokered
  • how decisions are made and managed to achieve equal ownership


The seminar will also include input from acta facilitators and directors, drawing on examples from 35 years of creating new theatre.

The seminar will be presented and chaired by Neil Beddow, acta Artistic Director, and will include presentations and the opportunity to question and discuss the sometimes complicated processes of creating community theatre.

who is this seminar for?

Theatre Makers: those already in the field of community theatre or those interested in learning about how the artistic process works.

Creative Artists: anyone interested in learning how to make community theatre.

Social Change Professionals: those interested in creating change through community theatre.

Students and Academics: in Applied Theatre and similar disciplines.

guest speakers

acta is delighted to welcome to the seminar two expert guest speakers;

Becca Finney, the Director of Appalshop’s Roadside Theatre, which has delivered ground breaking community theatre in rural Kentucky since the 1970’s, with the ‘story circle’ process

Jo Ronan, artist and practice-based researcher, who has studied, practiced and lectured on Collaborative Theatre. She worked with 7.84, and founded The Necessary Stage in Singapore, and Bloodwater Theatre, which experiments in egalitarian ways of making theatre.

Full biographies at bottom of page.

event details

Availability: Tickets are limited to 30: book your place here.

Event Structure: The seminar will run from 2.00 – 4.00pm, including a short break. There will be an opportunity to network with other attendees, either after the session or by sharing contact information. More information to come.

Location: the event will be held virtually over Zoom.

Interactive: We want this seminar to bring you real value, and will be offering opportunities to ask questions in advance – via a survey – as well as other interactive elements to maximise your learning, and recordings available after the seminar.

acta’s seminar programme

This is the latest of acta’s seminar series, delivered as part of the Cornerstone programme, funded by PHF to widen diversity and develop practice within the community theatre field.

The seminar will be conducted online, in keeping with Government guidelines.

How to book

Places are limited so please follow this link to book!

Guest biographies

Becca Finney joined Appalshop in 2019 as the Director of Appalshop’s Roadside Theatre. She has spent the last decade as a collaborative theatre maker in rural spaces, and believes theatre is an essential balance in contemporary culture because it invites an availability to both mystery and movement.  Becca is also an advocate for community-led art, which really just means she believes all theatre-makers should also be good neighbours.  She was born and raised in central Kentucky into a family with a history of civic service, a legacy which she embraces and which fuels her work with both generosity and political persistence.  Becca earned her BFA in Dramatic Arts from Centre College, and her MFA in Ensemble-Based Physical Theatre from Dell’Arte International.

Jo Ronan is the originator of Dialectical Collaborative Theatre, a rehearsal and research methodology she developed to politicise the making and spectatorship of performance.  Her praxis-driven PhD argues for the possibilities of non-hierarchical collaborative theatre production and consumption within a capitalist economy. She founded BloodWater Theatre to experiment with egalitarian ways of making theatre, producing original work at the Tron Theatre (2011) and the CCA (2014).  She challenges the binaries of professional and applied performance, exploring these tensions in her research. Jo was Associate Director with 7:84 (Scotland) directing its final production, Eclipse by Haresh Sharma which toured Scotland and Singapore.  She co-founded The Necessary Stage (Singapore) in 1987, directing numerous productions, including Still Building by Sharma staged in Singapore, the UK and Egypt. She was its associate director till 1995 when she settled in Scotland. Jo has been teaching on Performance programme at the University of the West of Scotland for the past 13 years but will shortly be leaving her post to pursue new opportunities as an independent artist/scholar.