Excavate have been working with communities across the East Midlands and beyond to create largely performance based work that explores questions of place, culture and heritage. Throughout that time they have worked with thousands of people in many different locations to create often very ambitious work with large casts of local people.
Over the last few years this has changed in response to funding issues and a deeper engagement with exploring particular issues with smaller amounts of people, and of extending the idea of community so that it is not merely place based. Whilst Excavate still work with local communities – and usually those that are labelled as being ‘difficult to reach’, ‘cold spot’, or ‘socially and economically deprived’ – they have found ourselves increasingly engaging with the world of health and wellbeing. This has included creating a community play with a basti in Pune, touring a show to health clinics across Kerala (that created a forum for discussion rather than imparting a message), and working with those who are at the end of their lives.
Excavate’s mission has always been to work with communities in partnership, for their theatre making skills to be traded in a barter with local knowledge and experience to create provocative and reflective work that stimulates debate.