An AfroReggae Explosion: Reimagining the Value of Quality, Profit, and the Global Market in the Development of Applied Performance

Charlotte Spowage

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Despite being widely used around the globe for social and political purposes, applied
performance still lies on the edge of theatrical practice and scholarship, often largely
unacknowledged and struggling to be taken seriously by the general public, major arts
institutions, and state agencies. This marginal position restricts applied performance’s
access to economic backing, hindering its development and ability to reach wider
audiences. This paper draws on the example of the Brazilian organisation Grupo
Cultural AfroReggae to demonstrate how aiming for high production values, engaging
deliberately in the commercial global market, and seeking profit potentially offer
applied performance opportunities for development. Without undermining its social
and political integrity, AfroReggae has created profitable community-based art work
in mainstream venues, generating substantial economic revenue to feed back into its
local community. AfroReggae’s negotiated, planned, and focused practice offers new
possibilities to other applied performance organisations, practitioners, and participants worldwide, demonstrating how local communities can benefit from producing applied theatre in mainstream venues for profit on a global stage.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5.2
Pages (from-to)69
Number of pages89
JournalPlatform Journal of Performing Arts
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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