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Verbatim theatre is a form of documentary theatre which is based on the spoken words of real people. In its strictest form, verbatim theatre-makers use real people’s words exclusively, and take this testimony from recorded interviews. However, the form is more malleable than this, and writers have frequently combined interview material with invented scenes, or used reported and remembered speech rather than recorded testimony. There is an overlap between verbatim theatre and documentary theatre, and other kinds of fact-based drama, such as testimonial theatre (in which an individual works with a writer to tell their own story) and tribunal theatre (edited from court transcripts).

Personally, I’m interested in verbatim theater because of its ability to bring the seldom heard perspectives of ordinary people to light. I don’t think that theater needs to be high brow, written by playwrights, or showy. I think there’s a place for smaller, less ambitious, community oriented pieces that talk about real human experiences and shed light on topics that may not get discussed as often or as openly as they could be.

why verbatim?

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