Performing Democracy explores aspects of a developing form of performance that works to change social conditions for marginalized groups or to preserve the traditions and cohesion of the community. The book combines critical analysis with field reports on specific projects and productions to explore the issues that confront community-based performance. The range of topics is impressive, and includes performances in North America, Australia, the Middle East, Bosnia, Taiwan, Korea, England, and the Netherlands. Many articles include production photos.
The book's first section focuses on how performance can contribute to the definition, creation, and preservation of community. Next, contributors address issues of authority within the production of community-based performance. A final section considers community-based performance's efforts to encourage individuals to feel empowered in everyday life and in their relation to government.
The range of performance genres covered includes community history plays, agitprop, forum theater workshops, puppetry, avant-garde plays, dance, and oral epics. The projects involve many different kinds of communities, including the inner city, youth, seniors, ethnic groups, activists, gays and lesbians, immigrants, and prison inmates.