Precariousness and the Performances of Welfare brings together an international group of artists, activists and scholars to explore precarity in the contexts of applied and socially engaged theatre. The policy of austerity pursued by governments across the global North following the financial crisis of 2008 has renewed interest in issues of poverty, economic inequality and social justice. Emerging from European contexts of activism and scholarship, ‘precarity’ has become a shorthand term for the permanently insecure conditions of life under neoliberal capitalism and its associated stripping back of social welfare protections. This collection explores a range of theatre practice, including activist theatres, theatre and health projects, the community work of regional theatres, arts-led social care initiatives, people’s theatres and youth arts programmes. Comprising full-length chapters and shorter pieces, the collection offers new perspectives on social theatre projects as creative occasions of occupation that generate a sense of security in a precarious world.

This book was originally published as a special issue of RiDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance.

chapter |6 pages


Theatre and the social factory
ByJenny Hughes

chapter |15 pages

Performing to understand: cultural wealth, precarity, and shelter-dwelling youth

ByKathleen Gallagher, Dirk J. Rodricks

chapter |12 pages

Subverting ableist discourses as an exercise in precarity: a Zimbabwean case study

ByKennedy C. Chinyowa, Nehemiah Chivandikwa

chapter |12 pages

Finding a concrete utopia in the dystopia of a ‘sub-city’

BySelina Busby

chapter |14 pages

Compassion is dissent

chapter |4 pages

In the Limelight: enthusiasm, commitment and need

ByKirsten Sadeghi-Yekta

chapter |5 pages

The resilience web

ByErin Walcon

chapter |4 pages

Precariousness and groundedness in arts in mental health

ByElanor Stannage

chapter |6 pages

On ‘A Piece for Two (Lovers)’ – an unrehearsed performance piece

ByRobert Vesty, Antonio de la Fe

chapter |10 pages

A people’s theatre for Brighton – an interview with Naomi Alexander

ByNaomi Alexander, Jenny Hughes