A Transcendent View of Audience Participation in Theatre for Change

By Caroline Obiageli.

Published by The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: August 18, 2015 $US5.00

Theatre for Change has been widely used as a community development strategy. Several scholars and practitioners have articulated different degrees of audience participation in such programmes for the purpose of empowering the cultural voices of the target communities. This is aimed at fostering sustained practical change within the target communities. However it has also been shown that when such changes occur, they are either marginal or short-lived. To explore this problem I conducted a study of a Theatre for Change element of a community development programme in Northern Nigeria which I code-named “Geenu Nti.” This study set to explore the extent to which the voice and meaning of the target community are represented in the programme. It applied qualitative methods such as interviews, focus group discussions, and documentary analysis. It was shown that despite all efforts at active audience participation aimed at empowering the community for emancipation, there remains a hidden high level disempowerment of the community members along their choices and experiential meanings. Considering the sociocultural realities of the programme the study proposes the emancipatory model of community engagement which extends the relevance of audience’s meanings/ideologies and experiences in the process of change.

Keywords: Community Change, Audience Participation, Empowerment, Identity Creation

The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies, Volume 13, Issue 4, December 2015, pp.29-39. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: August 18, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 311.943KB)).

Dr. Caroline Obiageli

Ph.D Student, School of Social Sciences and International Studies, University of Exeter, Exeter, Devon, UK