Defining Verbatim Theatre as a Form of Documentary Theatre

Kurdistan Mohammed Qadir

College of Languages, Sulaimani University, Sulaimaniyah

Email: Kurdistan.qadir@univsu;


As a response to the inaccuracy of government-owned media in their representation of the facts and the bias of news media which has resulted in suppressing the voice of the voiceless, a novel style of writing plays has become popular in theatre which is called verbatim theatre. The verbatim theatre practitioners have relayed on various means of collecting information in compiling their plays in an attempt to question the quality of information that the media consumers consume. They collect information from different sources, and thus the term verbatim theatre has remained contested because of the varieties of the sources the playwrights use. Therefore, one of the main obstacles the critics have faced is defining it. Some critics define it as a form of documentary theatre and some others as a technique, while others define it as a new genre.  The aim of this study is to give a clear-cut working definition of verbatim theatre to reduce skepticism around its authenticity. For this reason, the paper traces the development of the reality theatre by demonstrating the differences between all the types of reality theatre (tribunal, historical, and documentary theatre) in terms of their practices and writing processes, such as data collection, compilation, edition, censorship, and rearrangement.

Keywords: Documentary Theatre, Reality Theatre, Tribunal Theatre, Verbatim Theatre