Enacting Community on Dartmoor: MED Theatre’s Badgerland: A Dartmoor Comedy (2015) and the Spatial Praxis of Community Performance Within a Conservation Zone

  • Kerrie SchaeferEmail author
Part of the New Directions in Cultural Policy Research book series (NDCPR)


The chapter examines the emergence of a community-based theatre organisation on Dartmoor in response to post-war practices of conservation management of the National Park area located in the South-West of England. Noting the tension between the governmental construction of the Dartmoor landscape as ‘nature’ conserved for national prosperity and alternative (locally lived) understandings of the landscape as anthropic, Schaefer examines how a community-based theatre attends to Dartmoor as, primarily, a cultural and ecological landscape. The chapter locates the practices of MED Theatre, an inter-generational, educational and developmental theatre organisation on Dartmoor, in relation to other, relevant (influencing) models of collective creation: rural-touring community theatre (Kershaw in Theatre Quarterly 8: 65–91, 1978) and the community play (Jellicoe in Community Plays: How to Put Them On. Methuen, London, 1987). Drawing on a dynamic notion of community extrapolated from analysis of community arts (including community theatre) practice, the argument is made that MED Theatre’s work actively resists, or exceeds, socio-spatial containment by national park conservation management and instrumental cultural policy discourse. The chapter considers how recovery of the concepts of dynamic community and cultural democracy might re-animate fundamental political arguments for a democratic public policy in the UK.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of HumanitiesUniversity of ExeterExeterUK

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