Theatre for Decision Makers

Taking the people’s voice to leaders….  From protest to engagement… providing platforms for dialogue between differing positions… 

Popular theatre, and many forms of theatre for development have traditionally cantered on change mechanisms at community level – indeed, ‘for the people, with the people or by the people’ but predominately concerning a ‘change in behaviour’ amongst citizens.  Arts for Action firmly believes in the power of ownership in the creative and change process, and production by the citizenry, the community, is crucial. That said, less communication initiatives channel messages in the direction of policy and decision takers.

Arts for Action has a holistic approach to change.  Much Communication for Development focusses on ‘the beneficiary’ or the behaviour or the ‘target audience’. We firmly believe in the power of information, empowerment and education for all and know very well the transformative potential of (dubiously termed) grassroots level engagement; this said, genuine change cannot be brought about without all ‘levels’ engaged.

‘Theatre for Decision Makers’ was conceived and developed in Malawi as a response to the food crisis in 2002. The dominant narrative at the time supported the lie that 40,000 people died because Malawi suffered a food shortage caused by drought and flooding, when in fact political and economic interest conspired to stock pile maize meant for storage in the nation’s grain reserves, and release it back on the market at unaffordable prices.

Examples of past theatre for Decision Makers Projects: (Each with their link to that specific page)

Playing with Food
Accidental Death of Democracy
• Nora’s Sisters
• The Movement of the People
• Women and  Leadership  (Forum theatre for women standing for election in partnership with Women’s Campaign International)

Training in Theatre for Decision Makers best placed within the design of an actual program, but courses or workshops can be made available for students, institutions or organisations. Training incorporates history of political theatre in development contexts, review of protest, analysis of decision-maker behaviour in relation to movements for change, mode of engagement, developing partnerships, funding frameworks, tone and language, narrative provocation, facilitation, research and evaluation, ripple effects, affecting public discourse.

Projects are tailor made with partners and expert advice can be provided in this area on request.

 “Chiswe chimodzi sichiumba chulu
One termite does not mould an ant-hill
Chinyanya proverb. Malawi / Zambia

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