A Reader, by definition, operates to define a field, providing parameters, offering examples and creating a history for an idea or practice. This Reader, together with its companion, Community Performance: An Introduction, is no exception. This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book addresses community performance as a mode of work that nourishes itself from avant-garde and contemporary art practices. Even though many community performance practitioners ‘apply’ models and methods garnered elsewhere to community situations, many more practitioners question and challenge existing methods, and develop new ways of working in response to social, cultural and aesthetic pressures. The histories of art practices, however, show that these features do not exempt community arts from co-option and commodification. Urban practices in relation to community performance are collected in Haedicke and Nellhaus’s edition.