How to be a guerrilla theatre activist

"Guerrilla theatre is a form of intervention where acts of spontaneous, surprise performance in unlikely public spaces rupture the boring-as-shit, day-to-day reality for an unsuspecting audience," writes artist/instigator/author Bill Posters (aka Barnaby Francis) in his new book The Street Art Manual. In a book excerpt at The Quietus, Posters gives a quick introduction to guerrilla theater and situationist performance and its use by activists to stir shit up and make a statement. Here's an excerpt of the excerpt from The Quietus:

The use of carnivalesque forms of resistance was a key tactic developed during the global anti-capitalist mass actions of the 1990s. Art activists John Jordan, L.M. Bogad, Jen Verson and Matt Trevelyan founded the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (CIRCA) in late 2003 to welcome US arch-clown, George W. Bush, on his state visit to the UK. CIRCA aimed to offer a new methodology of civil disobedience, merging the ancient art of clowning with contemporary tactics of nonviolent direct action. [Image above.] It went on to be a successful meme and international protest phenomenon, with self-organized groups taking action in the streets outside summits and military bases in dozens of countries, from Colombia to New Zealand. Some of the clowns filled their pockets with loads of strange junk so that it took hours, and lots of paperwork, when 'stop and searches' occurred during protests. Emma Goldman (1869–1940), a legendary anarcho-feminist, once declared, 'If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution,' so it's good to know that, since the 1950s, artists and collectives including Alan Kaprow, El Teatro Campesino, Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed, Guerrilla Girls, Reverend Billy, the Yes Men, CIRCA, Liberate Tate and Improv Everywhere have ensured that the spirit of rebellion is alive and well while also making sure protest isn't shit and boring.

The Street Art Manual by Bill Posters (Amazon)

image: "CIRCA members at a demonstration in Frankfurt" by Heiko S (CC BY 2.0)