Penn State University

Community Conversations

Community-based performances seek to engage audience members in theatre productions by drawing out, then incorporating their reactions, suggestions and questions. This collaboration between spectators and actors creates a forum for community residents to communicate with each other about shared interests and to gain science-based information.

“Community Conversations: Living with Risk, Reward and Uncertainty” is a series of short plays written specifically for the communities where they will be performed. The plays will explore audience members’ perceptions of the energy resource development taking place in their communities by presenting a range of views and information on the environmental risks associated with natural gas drilling. Audience members also will have an opportunity to interact with several project scientists who will participate in the performance.

Introducing spectators to science-based information through these community-based performances promises new learning for community residents on topics including perceptions of “acceptable” and “unacceptable” risks and the meaning of uncertainty as applied to scientific data and interpretation. Also valuable for enhancing public engagement with science is the face-to-face interaction with scientists and researchers.

The Marcellus Community-Based Performance Program will be a resource for other project activities. Initially, the performances will provide an opportunity to introduce and encourage participation in the Marcellus Community Science Volunteer Program. The performance program also will identify prospective participants in the Marcellus Environmental Planning Workshops.

For more information on the Marcellus Community-Based Performance Program, contact:
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