This year’s programme has been curated in response to our conversations with participatory theatre makers over the last year. Themes include mental health, anti-racism, power-sharing, co-creation, ethics and climate justice. Events are participatory, informative and will involve a wide range of expert contributors and speakers. Click on the event titles below for full details of each event.
Missed an event? Visit the archive for speakers slides, videos of presentations, and summaries of discussions and action points
Thursday 15 July, 11am – 1:30pm
What role can the arts, arts organisations and arts workers play in eradicating racism and building more inclusive communities? Join guest speakers to hear about how their work is addressing inequality, diversity and access to the arts, leading to a participant-led open space discussion where those present will set the agenda and you will be able to move freely between conversations.
Thursday 22 July, 10:30am – 1pm
What does the changing world of participatory theatre look like 2021 and beyond? A panel of guest speakers will explore participatory theatre in 2021 and beyond, the potential for ACE’s Let’s Create strategy and how participatory theatre can play a role in post-pandemic recovery. Then we hand over to you to take the conversation forward; this event is for practitioners, theatre-makers and professionals involved in community participation and engagement to get together and consider what’s next.
Thursday 23 September, 10:30am – 1pm
How can participatory arts practice empower people and communities? We will open this event with provocations from our guest speakers based on their diverse experiences putting co-production and shared decision-making into practice. Throughout the session we will get to grips with the complexity of power sharing, asking questions such as: Who has access to culture? What is cultural democracy, and how does it work in practice? How can we use our participatory arts practice to extend ownership over arts and culture? How do we go about organisational and structural power sharing?
Thursday 30 September, 7:30pm
An evening of quick-fire presentations by people passionate about using the arts for social change. The showcase is a great way to grow your ideas, share and celebrate your achievements, rage about something or highlight something that needs to change. If you are interested in presenting at this event please fill out this simple google form.
Trauma Informed Practice for Participatory Artists
Thursday 14 October, 11am – 1:30pm *
Although it’s very important to maintain the distinction between art and therapy, participatory artists are often in positions where they need support their participants’ mental health. This training is specifically for artists and facilitators and takes a person-centred approach to understanding trauma and incorporating this understanding into your creative practice.
Trainers: Aidan Jolly (performance maker & researcher); Jess Michaelson (gestalt psychotherapist).
Thursday 11 November, 10:30am – 1pm
How can participatory arts engage most effectively with issues of climate justice? Join us to discuss how we can use our practice to explore and platform the global climate action and how participatory arts can break new ground in engaging marginalised communities and young people in conversation and action.
Co-creating Political Theatre with Communities
Thursday 25 November, 10am – 1pm *
This training will introduce theatre for social change processes and methodologies that practitioners can employ to inspire communities to explore what matters to them.Trainers: Abi Horsfield (Outreach Director, Collective Encounters), Sarah Thornton (Artistic Director, Collective Encounters)
Theatre from Lived Experience
Thursday 20 January, 11am – 1pm
In this session we will explore practical exercises and creative prompts for making theatre based on participants’ lived experience, as well as discussing the ethics of this practice.

We are having to charge a small fee for a couple of events that have a training focus, marked with a *. If you would like to attend one of these but can’t meet the cost please get in touch.

More events will be announced over the coming months. If you have an idea for an event that could support the development of the participatory theatre sector, please let us know! Email the Centre for Excellence sector development programme manager: marianne [@]