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Back to Back Theatre's 'The Democratic set': Politics, representation and response

Grehan, H. (2011) Back to Back Theatre's 'The Democratic set': Politics, representation and response. In: Theatre and Performance in the Asia-Pacific: Regional Modernities in the Global Era Symposium, 26 - 28 September 2011, School of Culture and Communication English and Theatre Studies, University of Melbourne


Disturbingly obvious and tantalisingly strange, THE DEMOCRATIC SET is a rapid series of short live performances and screen-based video portraits created in collaboration with communities.

THE DEMOCRATIC SET is a cavalcade of portrait, soap box and drama. (Back to Back, 2011)

In 'The Democratic Set' Back to Back continue on their mission to 'create new forms' of theatre by developing an innovative residency model for film and performance. In the process they aim to explore the concept that all people are equal and as such they should 'enjoy social, political and economic rights and opportunities' (Back to Back, 2008). In this project the company take a long-term approach to their involvement with communities and emphasise the importance of the collaborative process rather than product. They see the residency model as one in which a number of iterations of the project can occur in various communities over time. The idea is to watch and (perhaps document) the ways in which different versions of the work seep into and inform one another. This paper analyses 'The Democratic set' to ask questions about the function of representation, the significance of the concept of democracy as it is deployed within this process as well as exploring the tensions that emerge between the demands of establishing a fulfilling collaborative project and developing a finished work.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Conference Website:
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