Introducing A Resilient Culture
Permaculture goes beyond garden design. It is holistic cultural systems design. Drama is a key channel for building resilience.
Cultures build resilience through drama by:
- having an ethical core of caring
- recognising, expressing and responding to the signs of change
- using non-renewable resources with care
- making great use of biological and recycled resources eg. Outdoor theatres with living plants as the wings and back-drop.
- keeping stores for bad times. Set ticket prices at a fair level to be able to serve the wider community yet save for a rainy season.
- being current – dramatise current events, people and ideas. Revitalise historical content to make it relevant to the modern audience.
- sharing fairly. Make sure the profits support the creators, the workers and the venue to ensure long-term viability
- valuing the holistic nature of community (the wider community and the artistic community). Collaborate with other organisations to ensure optimum use of your site and staff.
- acknowledging resource limits. Don’t try take on too many issues – keep the message clear and the goals achievable
- valuing creative adaptations (like promoting barter, volunteer helpers or regional economics)
- listening to elders. Involve elders in creative processes
- seeking traditional know-how. Rediscover traditional processes, story-telling, music and costuming
- communicating and sharing feelings, knowledge and resources.
Theatre – a vital part of culture
For thousands of years, drama has been a valuable tool for a community to communicate and share knowledge. Theatres bring people together. For many tribal communities, Theatrical drama has been one of the most successful tools for consulting one-another and passing information.
Another useful feature of theatre is the promotion co-operation rather than competition. Seeking co-operation is a fundamental permaculture principle. When we work in co-operation with one another we can find peaceful resolutions. Peace offers stability. Stability offers sustainability.
In the Chikukwa project they use role play drama to teach one another how to create a permaculture garden.
How can we get more play-acting, drama and theatre in our culture?
Support live performances
This does require an effort to get up off the couch, dress up and go to a live venue. In some towns, there is very little live drama or music left. TV, radio and the internet have replaced live performances. People work long hours and live too far from the hub of society. But the trends can be reversed. We can make a special effort to get to the theatre and value the spontaneity, talent and energy required to make live theatre magical.
Make Your Own Performances Spaces
Theatrical spaces can be low tech. They can be outdoor theatre spaces. Try your own living space for entertaining others. Ask you favourite artists to do a home-concert or play. If you are a performer – a great way to earn extra support is to offer exclusive concerts for small audiences.
Dramatise Your World
Reading aloud, acting out, role-play, story telling, puppetry and games can enrich your time with others, especially children. Let them lead your creativity.
Celebrate the beauty of nature and relationships with photographs, blogs, play and song. Each moment we spend engaging in drama or creative play is richer than time wandering aimlessly as a consumer.
Engage In ‘Dream-time’
Explore the world of your own imagination. Write, make music, dance, speak and sing. Seek others to enjoy your active entertainment.
Design An Amazing Outdoor Theatre
In permaculture we aim have multi-functional elements in a site design. We can create multifunctional spaces. A sloped site can be used for outdoor performances, lectures, workshops. It can be designed to harvest water, provide fertile growing space and evenly distributed solar access.
Low, intensive garden beds can be created along the contour of the slope. These beds can catch and store water. Seating can be positioned on the stage side. Paths function as seating area for patrons as well as the water.
Storm water can be harvested in a pond at the base of the sloped seating. The pond will also serve to bounce sound and reflect light. A flat area at the bottom of the garden can serve as a stage or teaching space. In traditional roman-style theatres the stage is at the bottom of the incline. This style offers good acoustics and views.