COMMUNITY PERFORMANCE is a specialized form of site-specific theatre created from the histories, collected stories and reminiscences of an indigenous community. Once collected, the stories are fashioned by professionals into a script that is performed by community members at a site selected for its ambience and resonance with local history. Typical sites have included cotton and textile warehouses, a former produce storage unit, landmark barns, urban community centers (former chapel and movie theatre), an uncompleted church, and even a series of “Main Street USA” storefronts.
The main function of community performance, as originally articulated by director Richard Owen Geer in the early 1990’s, is to revive a community artistically and economically through the dramatization of local stories and events… and to provide a focus of pride in heritage that uplifts the lives of local citizens and visitors alike.
Community Performance, Inc. is an association of professional directors, writers, designers, composers, and choreographers under the leadership of Richard Owen Geer and Jules Corriere. As an artistic associate with CPI, I have worked with various communities across the country to stage “folk plays” that bring to life the stories told in these original scripts. We are customarily invited into a community by a core steering committee of dedicated community members who have resolved to create a community performance event. For more than a decade I have participated in CPI projects in Virginia, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Chicago.
Scenery as such is only sporadically present in these performances. The shaping of the space with attention to staging needs is the primary scenic function. The main challenge in creating this form of theatre physically is to provide thematic images while enhancing the inherent dramatic ambience of the site. In the end, it comes down to telling a story effectively. CPI artists, in conjunction with local citizens, work together in a highly collaborative way to realize these productions. For more detailed information about CPI and our several projects, please visit comperf.com.
View My Community Performance Images