Updated June 28, 2007
these are NOT official Open University Web pages
One student's personal experience as a part of:
Resources: Theater as a Tool for Development
For my Master's Degree in Development Management at Open University, my last course was TU874 The Development Management Project, completed in October. This course involves designing and carrying out a research project tied to the development concepts taught by the previous OU development management courses. My research topic was
an investigation of the key elements that need to be in place for an organization or collaborative initiative to successfully produce a live, in-person performance, or series of performances, as a development tool (theater for development, TfD), excluding performer training and the theater techniques themselves. From May (actually, even before) through September, I investigated how initiatives have convinced other organizations to partner in the TfD activities, convinced funders to support the initiative, built trust among the target audience to show up for an initial workshop or performance, etc.
You can read more about my final project.
Below are the key TfD-related resources and TfD initiatives that helped significantly in my investigation. Please note that I am no longer seeking information on this subject. My research project has finished.
Books, Web Sites, Networks & Videos:
- KIT Special on Theatre & Development, available free online from KIT (Royal Tropical Institute). Published 23 December 2004. This was the most helpful resource to me in the beginning, leading directly or indirectly to most of the resources listed below.
- Art4Development online discussion group. Many members of this group provided information and contact leads to help me in this final project. I posted updates about my project to this group as well.
- ActALIVE, an online forum managed by Janet Feldman, who herself was particularly helpful with connecting me to TfD practitioners
- The book Theatre and Empowerment: Community Drama on the World Stage, edited by Richard Boon and Jane Plastow, University of Leeds
(ISBN-10: 0521817293 | ISBN-13: 9780521817295). Published August 2004, and available from Cambridge University Press (it is CRAZY expensive, but the case studies are outstanding). And special thanks to Ms. Jane Plastow, who provided additional information about the background of TfD activities in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Leeds, U.K.
- The book Enacting Participatory Development: Theatre-based Techniques, by Julie McCarthy with Karla Galvão. It's more of a practical guide than a look at specific cases, but still very helpful. Published in November 2004 by James & James (Science Publishers) Ltd. Order from Earthscan.
- Using Theatre for Development in Child Rights Programming: TfD Training Manual, Save the Children UK, Office of the South and Central Asia Region, Kathmandu (2001). Lots of practical, honest advice about using TfD to empower young people. The office provided more information as well, via responses to my email questionnaire, noting that their TfD activities took place in "Bharatput, Pokhara, Chautara and Surkhet (Nepal), Karachi, (Pakistan), Kurigram, (Bangladesh), Sri Lanka, and Bhimtal, Kolkatta, Ladakh, Jaipur, Hyderabad, (India)." Big thanks to Karna Mahadur Maharjan for a great deal of help, and I note that this Save the Children Office was THE BEST at sharing much-needed information oh-so-quickly.
- Footsteps , issue 58, focused on Theater as a Tool for Development. Available free online from its publisher, the
Tearfund International Learning Zone (ILZ). It's under 25 pages long, and has summaries of some Theater-4-Development activities, as well as practical tips. Provides a nice, if a bit too simplistic, introduction to this subject matter, and a brief look at actual cases, as well as leads on people to talk to for more information.
- The web site for Kachahari Theater is the most detailed site I've found regarding a theater-for-development initiative. Kachahari Theater is based in Nepal, and is a project of Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke (MS), the Danish Association for International Co-operation. If every theater initiative had a detailed web site like this, I would be able to do my final project in a month!
- "Bugs and Boiled Water," a video that is part of the course TU870 International Development: challenges for a world in transition at The Open University. This video told of a TfD intervention by Health Projects Abroad (HPA) - Tabora and Singida, in Tanzania, that was focused on teacher children -- and through them, adults -- the importance of clean drinking water. The TfD activity was part of a range of activities undertaken by HPA in the region.
The following articles, case studies, thesis papers and dissertations were reviewed by me for this investigation. All of them were especially helpful and many of them were referenced in my final project (big thank you to those of you who submitted these to me, or told me where to find them):
- A Theatrical Exploration in Healing: Running Through the Devil's Club, A Women-Centered Drama About Surviving Sexual Abuse and Assault (1994-97), by Ms. Deborah-Kim Marie Hurford, Department of Drama, University of Alberta, 1997. A deeply personal account of a TfD activity that took place in prisons. Special thanks to Ms. Hurford, who provided a great deal of detail about her TfD activities that took place in "urban and rural communities in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, as well as the Yukon Territory, Canada." And provided some great encouragement to me.
- Case Study 3: Nigerian Popular Theatre Alliance, a seven-page document produced by the British Council. A look at an initiative at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Northern Nigeria by Steve Abah and Jenkeri (Jenks) Okwori. A very complete and realistic look at a TfD activity. Wish all case studies were so honest and complete.
- Theater as a Means of Moral Education and Socialization in the Development of Nauvoo, Illinois, 1839-1845, by Lori Hurd, California State University, Dominguez Hills, 2004. Put TfD in a context I hadn't thought of before, and is the earliest account of TfD that I could find.
- Encounter Theatre As A Means of Social Change and Empowerment, by David D. Coleman II, Lesley University, 2004. I just wish I could have found contact information for the author -- he would have been wonderful to have interviewed for this project.
- "Wishing for a World without 'Theatre for Development': demystifying the case of Bangladesh", by Syed Jamil Ahmed, published in Research in Drama Education, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2002. Includes information about the Bangladesh Institute of Theatre Arts (BITA), which proved very helpful to the investigation.
- Women-Finding Solution-Forum Theater: A voice emerges. How live performance, used as a tool by the interactive Forum Theatre, can be a part of the multi-pronged resources to eliminate all forms of violence against women. By Ranjita Biswas. Published by Trans World Features (TWF).
Practitioners and those affiliated with TfD activities who provided information about their TfD activities (and have not already been noted):
- Mr. Basilio Monteiro, regarding his TfD activities in Goa, India. "Our plays came out of High School where I was teaching Social Studies. It was led by me and the students wrote script as part of the class project."
- Father Anand Mathew I.M.S., an organizer of Prerana Kala Manch (which literally means Art forum for Inspiration , The Theatrical Wing of Vishwa Jyoti Communications. The activities referred to in his feedback took place throughout Northern India, "in the villages and cities of Jammu, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Miachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Assam, and Meghalaya states of India."
- Mr. Lawrence Ochien'g Osano, Director of Pengle Theatre Productions, whose TfD activities took place in Kisumu City in Nairobi, Kenya.
- MADaboutART Director Larry Gurney, regarding his activities in the Nekkies township outside Knysna, Western Cape, South Africa
- The Tubiyage TfD initiative in Burundi. Tubiyage means 'lets talk about it' in Kirundi, the local language. Nzojibwami Michel Ange is the Executive Director. Special thinks to my UN colleague and fellow OU student, Mr. Poorteman Geert, the Public Information Officer for the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Burundi (ONUB) for gathering information on this initiative and sharing it with me.
- Ms. Gerri Moriarty, a community artist and arts consultant whose work in Northern Ireland is cited in Theatre and Empowerment: Community Drama on the World Stage (see above) and who provided information on two additional projects she was/is affiliated with: (1) a TfD initiative under the auspices of the Gemini Trust, with activities taking place in Addis Abbaba and in the North and South of Ethiopia, "in areas where there are many development issues including high levels of poverty and high levels of HIV infection." (2) A project in Malta that was jointly led by the British Council, the Ministry for Culture for Malta and the Ministry for Women in Malta. Activities took place with women from three refuges for women experiencing domestic violence in Malta, a country "where support for victims from families, the church, the judicial and police system is growing but still very patchy and where the small size of the island makes it hard for victims to have any degree of anonymity if this is desired."
- Ms. Hilde Susan Jaegtnes, who undertook a TfD project with Un Mundo, in El Pital, a village situated in the heart of the Cangrejal River Valley (known by locals as La Cuenca) in northwestern Honduras, on the edge of Pico Bonito National Park. "The closest city of any size is the port city of La Ceiba, a former Standard Fruit town. At the time of execution of the project, the estimated amount of inhabitants of the village was 800." The focus of the TfD activity was "HIV/AIDS prevalence and prevention." She also provided Visions of Community: Walking Barefoot in Purple Ice Cream, her paper about the efforts of Un Mundo, a nonprofit international development organization based California.
- Mr. Patrick Mangeni, a TfD facilitator working with communities on the margins and Senior Lecturer in Applied theatre at Makerere University in Uganda. The project he was associated in Uganda with "was undertaken by the Theatre and Educational Consultancy (TEC) on behalf of the Uganda Veterans¹ Assistance Board (UVAB)," and Mangeni served as director and consultant. The initiative trained veterans in theater techniques and radio drama "as a social communication strategy; the subject being re-integration of veterans into civil society... it was, and to-date, the most ambitious TfD project that was intended to cover all the districts in the country with veterans; inadvertently the whole country i.e. over 50 districts."
- Dr. Louise M. Bourgault, an observer and evaluator of the Drama Approach to AIDS Education (DramAidE) and Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa, and currently in the Communication and Performance Studies Department at Northern Michigan University.
- Theatre for Research Education and Empowerment (TREE), an initiative based in Rampura, Dhaka which "attempts to explore, examine and exploit the potential of theatre as an effective means of social mobilization." TREE activities have a particular emphasis on health, environment, and human rights, and a focus on working with and for the marginalized community.
Surveys and further information are NO LONGER BEING ACCEPTED for this research project.
You can also read online:
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