This hands-on seminar will explore contemporary theories and practices of community-based performance, investigating contemporary theatre, dance, and music groups that use these methods. The course will also interrogate the sometimes fraught politics of community-based performance, including questions of authorship, authority, authenticity, and artistry. Offered in partnership with the Community-Based Learning Initiative, this course will offer hands-on experience in the process of creating community-based performance projects, and facilitate opportunities to build artistic relationships with local community organizations.

Sample reading list:
Jan Cohen-Cruz, Local Acts: Community-Based Performance in the United State
Paulo Friere, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Augusto Boal, Theatre of the Oppressed and Games for Actors and Non-Actors
Sonja Kuftinec, Staging America: Cornerstone and Community-Based Theatre
Michael Rohd, Theatre for Community Conflict and Dialogue
See instructor for complete list

Reading/Writing assignments:
Reading: 100 pages per week. Writing: 20-25 pages over the course of the semester. Some weeks will require out-of-class engagement or activities

Prerequisites and Restrictions:
Enrollment in this course is by permission of the instructor. Please email Professor Erica Nagel to state your interest in the course at:

Other information:
Students will research foundational artists and companies engaged in Community-based performance with a particular emphasis on performances in which professional actors perform alongside community members. Students will work closely with artists from McCarter Theatre Center to help develop and implement new community-integrated initiatives with partners such as HomeFront, OnStage Seniors, and local environmental advocacy groups.




Fridays, 1:30 - 4:20 pm


Erica Nagel

Laurie Woolery