Amateur Dramatics: Crafting Communities in Time and Space

Lead Research Organisation: Royal Holloway, University of London
Department Name: Drama and Theatre

Abstract

This is the first major study of amateur dramatics. Amateur theatre has an active place in the social and cultural life of many communities, despite receiving little intervention from funding councils, charities, local authorities and professional theatre. Moreover, the term 'amateur' is often used disparagingly; professional actors continue to deride amateur dramatics for their production values, often vociferously, despite many performers having started their careers as amateurs. For theatremakers on the political Left, the perceived conservatism of 'am drams' has been seen an obstacle to community theatre. Academics have often been conspiciously silent on the subject of amateur dramatics, favouring forms of theatre that are more palatable to radical politics and more in tune with metropolitan taste. Yet for the participants in amateur dramatics themselves, the choice of repertoire, the craft of performance and the production values are deeply important.

This study will take the social and artistic intentions of amateur dramatic companies seriously. It will consider systems of apprenticeship and leadership, how casts and crew refine and develop their craft, and how their commitment to rehearsal, production, competitions and festivals shapes their skills as theatre-makers. The study will consider the social aspects of amateur dramatics: how participation fosters friendship and romance, weathers conflict and fall-outs, and sustains family involvement and community participation across generations. It will examine how amateur dramatics is viewed by audiences and valued as heritage, and the contribution made to productions by the wider communities in which they are situated.

The research will focus particular attention on amateur dramatics in constructed communities, that is communities conceived to fulfil particular social and institutional functions (military bases, naval ships), or designed as utopian imaginaries of urban life (Garden Cities/ post-war New Towns and suburbia) and rural villages constructed in the transition from organic communities to commuter dormitories. By researching cultural activity in non-metropolitan communities, it will address questions of international significance by asking how and if amateur dramatics contributes to sustaining and revitalising communities; whether amateur theatre companies resist change or adapt to new circumstances; why people give time to amateur dramatics; how participation enhances wellbeing and raises the quality of community life. This research will be conducted with and by members of amateur dramatic companies, who will share their insights and local knowledge.

It is significant that this research is proposed in a context in which creativity is recognised as valuable commodity in globalised, knowledge-based economies and State funding for the professional arts has been cut. In times of austerity and recession, funding for participatory arts as a means of promoting social cohesion has been eroded. Nonetheless, there is a widespread cultural anxiety that although we may be increasingly globally networked, many people scarcely know their neighbours, leading to loneliness and social isolation. This makes questions about the practice of amateur arts all the more pressing. There is urgent need to understand the social, cultural and economic significance of amateur dramatics - as one of the most social, sociable and durable cultural practices. The project will culminate in a research festival that will bring together amateur and professional theatremakers, academics and cultural policy-makers to share practice and experience, and consider future possibilities. The outcomes will be of interest to cultural policy, voluntary arts organisations, Naval and military institutions, local authorities and heritage groups, as well as to the amateur dramatic companies themselves. By studying amateur dramatics in the past and present, this research will inform the future.

Planned Impact

This project has the potential for impact for a broad range of project partners at national and local level, and individual community participants across the amateur dramatics community of interest. In addition to reaching public audiences, the research will benefit three specific interest groups and organisations:

1) The Third Sector: National and Local Organisations that support Amateur and Voluntary Arts
This project builds on partnerships developed with national bodies in the sector including Voluntary Arts (VA) and the Little Theatre Guild through the AHRC funded Connected Communities study, The Role of Grassroots Arts Activities in Communities (completed in 2011). New relationships have been forged with national and local cultural organisations including the Royal Navy Theatre Association (RNTA), the National Operatic and Drama Association (NODA) and Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation (LGCHF). The research is designed to draw on existing knowledge of the sector from these project partners, and seeks to understand whether amateur dramatics contributes to sustaining and revitalising geographically located communities. Representatives from project partnerships are included on the Advisory Board, acting as expert consultants at regular meetings through the research. The research will generate bespoke internal reports for partner organisations that will address their specific concerns about place of amateur dramatics in community life. The impact of this research has international reach through the case studies: military personel from many nations participate in amateur drama; Garden Cities and New Towns across the world are being reimagined to address 21st century challenges; cultural changes in rural communities affect many European countries.

2) Community Stakeholders: Amateur Dramatics Companies
The project's three detailed case studies involve community participants in a variety of amateur dramatic groups from the Royal Navy, in New Towns and Garden Cities and suburban communities along the Metropolitan Line, and in the villages of Devon. These stakeholders will be co-creators of knowledge, by sharing their creativity and craft, through oral histories, and in the shared production of website material and digtial archives. We will collaborate with key local organisations to produce content for exhibitions documenting the history and contemporary practice of amateur dramatics. The project culminates with a Research Festival to showcase the work of partner amateur dramatic companies and, by linking amateur and professional theatre-makers, will open the work beyond the world of amateur participants to professional arts organisations.

3) Cultural Policy-Makers
The project will offer the first complete survey of contemporary amateur dramatic companies in England. It is focused on amateur dramatic companies that are specifically set up to make theatre, rather than amateur performance in professional theatre or voluntary organisations that include amateur drama amongst their activities (The Women's Institute or the Scouts, for example). The research will address issues of social inclusivity, asking whether amateur drama connects or divides communities, particularly in areas of cultural and ethnic diversity. The Research Festival will curate conversations about the strategic implications of the research with policy-makers from the Arts Council England, the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport, local government bodies, heritage foundations and amateur theatre associations. The reports, developed in collaboration with research partners, will speak to this audience and will be available for wide dissemination. The research will provide valuable evidence about the amateur use of recreational spaces, generate data about how leisure time is spent, and analyse how, and if, amateur dramatics contributes to connecting communities.

Publications

10 25 50
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Gilbert D (2020) On Amateurs An introduction and a manifesto in Performance Research

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Gray C (2017) "Crafting a Local Story: Set Building with The Settlement Players" in Contemporary Theatre Review

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Holdsworth N (2017) Theatre, Performance, and the Amateur Turn in Contemporary Theatre Review

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Holdsworth N (2016) Performing Place, Heritage, and Henry V in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in Contemporary Theatre Review

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Holdsworth N. (2016) Making Theatre with the Royal Navy

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Nicholson H (2015) Absent amateurs in Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance

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Nicholson, H. (2018) The Ecologies of Amateur Theatre

 
Description This research projected addressed the role of amateur theatre in connecting communities across England. Amateur theatre companies take an active role in the social and cultural life of many communities, despite receiving little support from funding councils, charities, local authorities, professional theatre or other stakeholders. There is evidence to suggest that at least 2 million people take part in amateur theatre each year. Widely overlooked in the academy, this research project offered fresh insights into the ways in which amateur theatre was instrumental in shaping contemporary theatre. The co-authored book that resulted from this project was awarded a major prize by the Theatre and performance research Association, and this gave the research findings visibility. It was described by the judges as 'offering a long overdue intervention into dominant presumptions - in theatre scholarship and professional theatre practice - about the 'value' of amateur theatre'.
The research generated significant new knowledge about the role of amateurs in the history of 20th century Theatre, and the ways in which amateur theatre contributes to local cultural economies, and how it serves to bring communities together today. It tacked questions of stereotypes head-on, and analysed far amateur theatre reflects today's diverse society. It dispelled the myth that it is a pastime enjoyed primarily by the middle-classes, and illuminated some of the barriers to creating more inclusive amateur sector.
One of the findings of the research was that boundaries between the amateur and professional sectors in theatre are rather more porous than was believed. there was considerable evidence that the spending power of the amateur sector has wide benefits for professional Theatre makers and accompanying industries. These benefits extend to publishers, playwrights, lighting designers, musicians, technicians and supplies of sets, costumes and technical equipment. The amateur sector also represents changing work patterns, and the research traced theatre in the workplace in the 20th century to the more fragmented ways in which employment is now experienced. The research also noted the contemporary amateur turn in performance practises and raised questions about what this means in the long term. The research showed how amateur theatres serve as a cultural and social hub for their communities organising events and activities beyond the theatre itself.
New research partnerships have been established as a result of this project. In the course of the research itself the Little Theatre Guild were a partner and they are now a major contributor to a new research project, Civic Theatres: A Place for Towns. This research, undertaken by academics at Royal Holloway, University of London and Manchester University, also includes Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre and the National Theatre as partners.
Exploitation Route This research is already generating interest within the University sector and there have been a number of recent publications which directly address the role of the amateur in theatre. The co-authored book is widely cited in other publications related to amateur theatre, including those written by theatre critics and those outside the academy. The research has also been used by amateur theatre makers themselves, particularly the Little Theatre Guild, who have found that the research gave their work valuable cultural recognition that enabled them to generate new conversations with major providers including the Arts Council England.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL http://amateurdramaresearch.com
 
Description Our findings are being used to enhance quality of life, creativity and to impact on cultural life.There have been several impact-related events that have engaged different groups: in one event 170 people attended a symposium drawn from amateur theatre-makers themselves; national and international amateur theatre organisations; professional theatre companies with an interest in amateurs; publishers of plays; professional theatre archivists and theatre critics. 25 leading policy-makers, funders and stakeholders attended a seminar on amateur theatre, including representatives from Arts Council England, Voluntary Arts, DCMS, Crafts Council, London Assembly members, Local government and other cultural organisations. Smaller events have been integral to the research process. Our findings are being used by: National amateur theatre organisations, particularly The Little Theatre Guild, to demonstrate the ways in which building-based amateur theatres are a cultural hub in local communities, offering a range of cultural activities and forms of creative participation; Third Sector organisations to advocate for increased visibility of amateur theatre in local cultural, particularly in non-metropolitan spaces. Individual amateur companies to demonstrate the cultural value of their work, particularly where they are supported by employers and local authorities. There is a new interest in the cultural activity in towns, to which this research is contributing. This research has been used to inform new collaborations on the civic role of theatre in towns, including amateur theatre.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description Advisory Group: Cultural Value Scoping Project
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Policy Briefing Arts Council England
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
 
Description Humanities Research Fund
Amount £500 (GBP)
Organisation University of Warwick 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2018 
End 07/2018
 
Description Humanities Research Fund (HRF) Award
Amount £500 (GBP)
Organisation University of Warwick 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2017 
End 07/2017
 
Description Humanities and Arts Research Centre
Amount £500 (GBP)
Organisation Royal Holloway, University of London 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2016 
End 06/2017
 
Description IFTR Bursary Award
Amount € 643 (EUR)
Organisation International Federation for Theatre Research 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2017 
End 07/2017
 
Description IFTR Bursary Award
Amount € 320 (EUR)
Organisation International Federation for Theatre Research 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2018 
End 07/2018
 
Description Royal Holloway research Strategy
Amount £1,000 (GBP)
Organisation Royal Holloway, University of London 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2018 
End 07/2018
 
Description Little Theatre Guild 
Organisation Little Theatre Guild of Great Britain
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution This partnership evolved during the project and the research team contributed to conferences, policy and brokering discussions with professional policy-makers.
Collaborator Contribution Offering access to theatres, introductions, contributing to symposia and steering groups.
Impact There have been several reports generated by the project, including: Reflections on amateur Theatre research; For Love or Money? Collaboration Between Amateur and Professional Theatre in the Royal Shakespeare Company's Open Stages Programme. The collaboration also contributed to a new publication, The Ecologies of Amateur Theatre, published by Palgrave, and co-authored Helen Nicholson, Nadine Holdsworth and Jane Milling. The findings of the project showed that amateur theatre contributes to well-being and feelings of belonging, and place-making in towns and villages, as well as cities.
Start Year 2014
 
Description 'Manuals for making' Amateur performance, IFTR Conference, Stockholm 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact IFTR conference meeting looking to expand international network of scholars working on amateur performance.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Amateur Creativity Symposium (Warwick) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A 2-day international and interdisciplinary symposium to discuss aspects of amateur creativity. Talk given on amateur creativity and heritage.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Amateur Creativity: Interdisciplinary Perspectives Symposium (University of Warwick) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I gave a conference paper titled 'Craft Creating Community: Set Building with the Settlement Players' in the session on 'Craft and Amateur Creativity' which communicated my research and methodology to an audience of mainly academics (some of whom were involved in amateur dramatics). The paper sparked questions and conversation both in the allotted time and afterwards.

Abstract:
This paper reflects on the making of amateur theatre, and how the processes and spaces of making can illuminate the 'crafting' of a community; developing the appreciation that 'making is connecting' (Gauntlett, 2011). Amateur dramatics has long been a site overlooked by the academy in discussions around the social production of art. Yet within geography and beyond, discussions around artistic practice, craft and skill by way of creative practice and process have gained significant attention. So have the spaces of artistic production, the artists' studio (Bain, 2004, Sjöholm, 2012) and the everyday 'vernacular spaces of creativity' (Edensor 2010). I aim to investigate the creative processes outside the realms of capitalist value, in amongst the making and the spaces of the amateur dramatist, in a town that was designed on the principles of the Arts and Crafts Movement.

Of specific interest to this paper is the Sunday set building mornings at the Settlement (Letchworth Garden City), in which volunteers from the Settlement Players helped to construct the living room of Fey, a character in their upcoming play. Drawing on (auto) ethnographic research and participatory work conducted with The Settlement Players, this paper will offer an analysis of the amateur dramatist as a craftsman 'dedicated to good work for its own sake' (Sennett, 2008). By positioning myself in the making, I seek to contribute to the understanding of human labour in amateur theatre, whilst illuminating the social and material relationships therein.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/theatre_s/staff/nadine_holdsworth/amateur_creativity/rh162_amateu...
 
Description Amateur Theatre organisati0on: GoDA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact The Guild of Drama Adjudicators invited talk at their annual conference. The feedback was that it was inspiring, and the discussion sparked questions about how amateur theatre might change to attract more young people from diverse backgrounds.

The organisation reported a change in thinking about how the jobs market has altered how young people see their commitment to amateur theatre, and how they can accommodate more flexible lifestyles.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Amateur and Professional Theatres 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was a talk to practitioners and theatre-makers in Nordic countries. It sparked questions about how the boundaries between amateur, community and professional theatre are constructed in different contexts and settings.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Co-curator of Exhibition on Amateur Theatre (Royal Holloway, University of London) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An exhibition for 'Reflecting on Amateur Theatre Research' event held at Royal Holloway on the 17th September. I curated the exhibition with Cara Gray (fellow PhD student on the project)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://amateurdramaresearch.com/updatesnews/2016/10/5/the-exhibition-part-two-navy-amateurs-in-the-a...
 
Description Conference Paper (RAPPT, London) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Conference paper 'Staging Place and Heritage: HMS Collingwood's Henry V at Portsmouth Naval Dockyard (2013)' at the inaugural meeting of the Research in Amateur Performance and Private Theatricals, which prompted debate and questions about amateur theatre research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Event for amateur theatre-makers: Evocative Objects 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact We ran two workshops, one in London and one in Worcester, with and for amateur theatre-makers. Over 80 delegates took part, each bringing objects that told stories about their lives as amateur theatre-makers. This prompted significant discussion, and they companies involved reported interest in archiving and documenting their own work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://amateurdramaresearch.com
 
Description Geographies of Amateur Creativity 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact This was an well-attended panel and the Royal Geographical Society Conference curated by doctoral student Cara Gray (with supervisor Helen Nicholson). Debates about the ways in which amateur creativity is place-based, and related to enthusiasm and life-long commitment generated new ways of thinking about amateur creativity as a geographical practice. There have been new meetings between researchers in geography as a result.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.rgs.org/NR/rdonlyres/6EF825AC-0B48-472F-B0DA-A491481DB116/0/AC2015ProgrammeBooklowerres.p...
 
Description Guest blog for the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Guest blog for the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich on Festive Theatricals in the Royal Navy
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.rmg.co.uk/discover/behind-the-scenes/blog/festive-theatricals-royal-navy
 
Description Guest blog for the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Guest blog for the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich on Crossing the Line
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.rmg.co.uk/discover/behind-the-scenes/blog/crossing-line-tales-20th-century
 
Description Invited speaker - Future of Creativity Event, Democracy and Creativity Panel 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This symposium brought together practitioners, policy makers, educators and researchers to broadly explore the 'future of creativity' through talks and roundtable discussion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/theatre_s/cp/about/news/?newsItem=8a17841a5b90df0c015ba076cbef16eb
 
Description Keynote Address, Budapest, Hungary 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote Address at Conference in Budapest, Hungary with practitioners engaged in community-based theatre. It sparked questions about who is normally included in debates about community theatre.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Keynote, Play Festival, Austin Texas, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was a public lecture at a festival of contemporary arts at the University of Texas, Austin. There were many questions during the event, and a new interest sparked in amateur theatre (called community theatre in US)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description London Theatre Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact 30 people attended a seminar in London university dedicated to the research. Debates included the aesthetics of amateur theatre, and how this related to cognate research in popular theatre. The event generated debate about inclusions and exclusions in the academy, and how judgments of taste have been determined the focus of research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description New Scholars Forum paper at IFTR 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact New Scholars paper entitled 'HMS ARK Royal's Unlikely Stowaway: How a Ventriloquist Dummy Obtained the British Empire Medal' at the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) Conference 2017. University of Sao Paulo. Dates: 10 July, 2017 - 14 July, 2017
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Paper at Community as Beneficiary: The Role of Amateur Performance Symposium (University College Cork) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Symposium paper entitled 'Entertaining Jack at Sea: The SODS Operas at Scapa Flow' at the Community as Beneficiary: The Role of Amateur Performance Symposium. University College Cork. Dates: 9th and 10th July 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Popular Entertainments Working Group paper at IFTR (Stockholm University) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Popular Entertainments Working Group paper entitled 'Entertaining Jack at Sea: the SODS Operas at Scapa Flow' at the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) Conference 2016. Stockholm University. Dates: 13 June, 2016 - 17 June, 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description RAPPT: Amateur theatre conference presentation Cork, Ireland 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact This was a conference for researchers (both amateur and professional) undertaking research on the history and current practices of amateur theatre. Discussion from our research project focused around the relationship between craft and community, and prompting discussion about how far this is changing in the digital era. The research team all contributed to this conference, generating interest in the range of research methods we used and the historical and geographical reach of our research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://rappt.org
 
Description Reflecting on Amateur Theatre: An Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Over 100 people attended the event to discuss our research on amateur theatre.

Myself and Helen Nicholson ran a workshop, with a proportion of the attendees which, explored the themes of 'objects telling stories and 'creative spaces of amateur theatre' (named 'Stories from objects, places and theatres'). In this workshop we talked about our own research and engaged the participants in activities that fuelled discussions around these themes.

Later on in the day, Sarah Penny and I helped to chair a discussion with a group of attendees. The discussion focussed on the 'ecologies of amateur theatre'. It was an opportunity to discuss current trends and future plans with amateur drama practitioners. We asked: What are the major challenges facing amateur theatre makers at the moment and how would you like to be supported? What new directions might emerge in the future? What are the opportunities for future development? How might our research contribute?

Sarah Penny and I also curated a small exhibition for the event. Set up in the event space, we exhibited four themes connected to our research on amateur theatre: 'creative spaces', 'place making', 'archive' and 'heritage'. The exhibition was made up of primary and secondary sources, photographs, quotes from amateur theatre practitioners and a small instillation. Attendees of the event engaged with this exhibition throughout the day and it facilitated many conversations around these themes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://amateurdramaresearch.com/reflecting-on-amateur-theatre-an-event/
 
Description Research Network 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation at AHRC network event, Incubate-Propagate, AHRC Research Network Grant, on amateur and professional theatre
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://incubate-propagate.com/
 
Description Research Seminar (Warwick) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Paper 'Staging Place and Heritage' delivered as part of Warwick's research seminar series, which prompted questions and debate about the challenges of researching amateur theatre.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Royal Geographical Society - IBG Annual International Conference (London) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Gave a paper titled 'The Utopian Crafts of Amateur Theatre: The Spirit of the Place' with my supervisor Helen Nicholson at the Royal Geographical Society in London. The session was interested in 'Complicating the co-production of art' and as our work crosses many disciplines (namely drama and geography) we were able to reach a an audience audience of geographers whose work is very much interdisciplinary (art/music/performance/creative writing). The paper sparked questions afterwards and interest in the project on amateur dramatics as a whole.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://conference.rgs.org/AC2014/400
 
Description Royal Geographical Society - IBG Annual International Conference (University of Exeter) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Myself and fellow Royal Holloway PhD student, Katie Boxall (Geography Department) chaired and convened two session at the conference named 'Geographies of Amateur Creativities: Spaces, Practices and Experiences 1 & 2'. My supervisor on this project, Helen Nicholson gave a paper and so I was able to talk about my research in the allotted time for questions as well as a discussion afterwards. The session enabled conversations across projects and revealed even more a community of researchers whose interests are around 'the amateur'.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://conference.rgs.org/AC2015/80
 
Description Royal Navy Theatre Association events (Portsmouth) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A number of informal talks at rehearsals, performances and Award's Evenings discussing the research project and how participants and audiences might get involved.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014,2015
 
Description Symposium for Amateur Theatre-Makers and Theatre Professionals 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact 172 amateur theatre-makers attended a symposium, Reflections on Amateur Theatre Research on 17th September 2016. The purpose was to share research on a range of different areas and to bring together amateurs with professional archivists, publishers and theatre producers with members of amateur theatre organisations. It generated insights into the social and cultural significance of amateur theatre in the wider cultural ecology. Amateurs considered forms of archiving; the contribution to place-making and heritage and their place in the national repertoire.

The Little Theatre Guild reported increased visibility of amateur theatre, and greater understanding of their role in the cultural sector.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://amateurdramaresearch.com/
 
Description Symposium for Cultural Policy-makers 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The symposium aimed to bring together leading representatives from cultural policy, charitable organisations, think-tanks and theatres (both amateur and professional). The symposium aimed to debate:
• how amateur theatre might contribute to current policy agendas
• potential for further cross-sector collaboration and partnership
• areas for further research.

It was attended by 25 leading cultural policy-makers, and raised important questions about the limits to participation, and the potential to extend this kind of activity. Delegates reported an increased understanding of amateur theatre, and how theatre shapes communities. It sparked debate about how future amateur-professional collaboration can be extended for mutual benefit.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description TaPRA PG Symposium Keynote Address (Warwick) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact A keynote address 'From Military Campaigns to Mother Goose: why does the navy do theatre?' delivered at the annual TaPRA PG Symposium
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description That's Solent TV interview about research (14/12/17) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact On the 11th December 2017 I gave a talk on Festive Theatricals at a Christmas coffee morning at the Victory Learning Centre, Victory Gallery at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth. That's Solent TV attended the coffee morning and interviewed me about my research. The interview appeared in a filmed feature on That's Solent News on the 14th December 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzpH-VxwMNw&feature=youtu.be&a=
 
Description Theatre and Performance Research Association 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Research papers offered by Nadine Holdsworth and Helen Nicholson sparked debates about the role of amateur theatre in the academy, and how the research methods and processes used to engage communities might be extended to other areas in theatre and performance research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description University of Exeter Centre for Performance Research 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Around 20 Postgraduate students and staff in Humanities attended a paper on 'Cultural Values and Amateur Theatre', followed by a debate and dialogue on the role of the amateur sector in the wider performance ecology of the UK, but also parallel traditions in other contexts - Canada, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Visit to Amateur theatre organisations 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Talk prompted discussion, and also engaged interest

Very high interest from amateur theatre companies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Workshop in Garden Cities on amateur theatre 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Workshop on the craft of making amateur theatre, with amateur set designers, costume-makers and props makers. The purpose was to encourage reflection on the processes, particularly the social processes of the work. It sparked significant debate.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015