Power Plays: The Use of Forum Theatre in Senegal and Kenya to Perform Participation and Rehearse Change

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2013-06-07

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Abstract

This thesis examines the possibilities and limitations of theatre as a development intervention by exploring its contested execution on the ground. Ethnographic investigations compare NGO-directed “Theatre for Development” initiatives in Senegal to community-directed theatre projects in Kenya. In Senegal, a theatre troupe’s implementation of top-down theatre fails to align with the ideals of the participatory “forum theatre” approach on which the troupe models itself. In Kenya, the process of creating forum theatre uncovers problematic moral attitudes and replicates pre-existing power dynamics. Ultimately, the thesis finds that successful theatre work is premised on strong relationships between facilitators and participants and the ability to facilitate stories that contest and challenge hegemonic versions of reality. Theory and practice align in the final chapter, which provides actionable insights for hopeful and questioning practitioners and practitioners-to-be.

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Sorrenson, Claire Allegra (2013). Power Plays: The Use of Forum Theatre in Senegal and Kenya to Perform Participation and Rehearse Change. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/7412.


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