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Phakama -  Making Participatory Performance

Caoimhe McAvinchey & Fabio Santos & Lucy Richardson Price: $26.95

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An international arts organisation and network engaging with music, dance, theatre and visual art, Phakama creates adventurous, site-responsive performances with large groups of people from diverse backgrounds

With contributions from participants, artists, academics and cultural commentators from India, Ireland, South Africa, the UK and USA, this book features case studies, interviews and articles covering two decades of practice

At the heart of the book is a selection of carefully explained and beautifully illustrated exercises which will enable Phakama's methodology to be used by organisations and practitioners working with young people internationally

Phakama is a Xhosa and Zulu word for stand up, arise, empower yourself

With a focus on collaborative, non-hierarchical performance making, Phakama invites cultural sharing and critical engagement with the world we live in

As well as engaging with political and critical concerns about contemporary theatre and performance, the book offers unique approaches to devising theatre, applied and social theatre, intercultural performance practices and pedagogic models of collaboration and cultural leadership


List of Illustrations
Forward by Mandla Mbothwe


Phakama Projects (1996-2006)


Introduction to Preparing the Ground


Phakama Practice: Cultural Tours
Phakama Practice: Cultural Tours – How To
The Practical Politics of Care

Case Study: The Child I Curry (Lesotho, 2003) by Selloane Mokuku

Give and Gain

Phakama Practice: Give and Gain
Phakama Practice: Give and Gain – How To
Cultural Contexts: South Africa and Ubuntu, Progressive Education

Case Study: Bulang Dikgoro/ Open the Gates (South Africa, 1996 – 1997) by Tony Fegan.

Interview: 'Give and Gain: Twenty Years Later' with Mildrett Stevens, Tracey Ligate and Sharon Waverly (Phakama South Africa)

Cultural Sharing

Introduction: Working Together
Phakama Practice: Mapping the World
Phakama Practice: Mapping the World – How To
Difficult Cooperation

Case Study: Be Yourself (Phakama SA and Phakama UK, Tricycle Theatre, London, 1999) by Caroline Calburn

Interview with Maylene Catchpole (Phakama UK)

Essay: 'When Time Is Not (2008) : Artistic Exchange between Project Phakama UK and the Creative Arts Team (New York City)' by Ananda Breed


Introduction to Making the Performance

Layered Co-Authorship
Working with Site and Found Materials
Hosting The Audience

Interview with James Hadley, Phakama Relationship Manager, Arts Council England (2008-2014).

Essay: 'Catalytic Conversations: The aesthetic weave and social weft of Phakama's creative practice' by Sara Matchett

Case Study: The Phakama Way, Pune, India (2002) by Vidyanidhee Vanarese

The Street Is My Backyard, Buenos Aires, Argentina (1996), Charlotte Higgins, The Guardian, Monday 17 April 2006


Introduction to Celebration

Case Study: The Edible Garden (UK, 2012-2016) by Corinne Micallef


Essay: 'Alive to the Music of What's Happening'by Lucy Neal

Stepping Up


Interviews with:

Jake Boston
Sam Quinn
Juancho Gonzalez
Cedoux Kadima
Liesl Hartman
Jean September
Alpha Thiam

Beverley Randall
Clinton Osborne and Mpotseng Shuping
Luvuyo Mabuto and Craig Koopman

Introduction to 'Performing Risk'

Essay: 'Performing Risk' by Shirley Brice Heath.




“Phakama has been on a long journey of discovery and creating a space for people to belong. It has and will continue to be a crucial part of many people's lives because governments around the world continue to make life unliveable so sanctuary has to be sought. Phakama holds a million stories and the unpacking of these narratives and exploration of methodology to support and nurture a new way of being needs to be documented and shared. This is a book for anyone who cares about human rights and believes the arts are a fundamental part of who we are and how we engage with the world and no one does this better than Phakama” ~ Jenny Sealy, Artistic Director of Graeae Theatre Company

“Lucy Richardson, Fabio Santos and Caoimhe McAvinchey have skillfully compiled this impressive book about a remarkable set of practices that coalesce around Phakama, not so much an arts organisation as a phenomenon in participatory arts and cultural practices. This important book speaks through a huge variety of voices – participants, artists, producers, academics, journalists, to the widest possible audience. Providing a history, methodological insight and detailed account of the artistic, ethical and political underpinnings of Phakama's work since 1996, this is an invaluable resource for anyone with an interest in the ways in which innovative arts practices have intervened in different locations across the world to help young people to explore and improve the conditions in which they live” ~ Dr. Alison Jeffers, Senior Lecturer in Drama, University of Manchester, UK

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