Theatre for Good Governance

•    Principles of good governance: participation, transparency, responsive representation and accountability are hard to achieve as political or social realities, in any context. Creative arts and communication can be employed in a variety of ways to enhance the presence and application of these principles – at all levels, and provide an inclusive experience for understanding and participation across different spheres of society and administration or governments.

•    Donor aid and investment has driven the demand and largely the criteria, for ‘good governance,’ rights education and a vibrant civil society in so called ‘developing’ nations: NGOs can and have played an important part in this process, but experience shows that real and genuine ‘participation’ and ‘accountability’ demands locally driven, culturally appropriate action, that navigates power dynamics with sensitivity in inclusivity.

Mutu umodzi susenza denga

One head does not carry the roof
Chinyanja proverb, Malawi / Zambia

•    Theatre for Good Governance can take many forms: from protest or spectacle to collaborative events or processes – from sustained dialogue facilitated regularly at community level; using creativity to workshop ideas with government officials, counsellors and farmers for example; or touring forum theatre productions to different target audiences or performing to a paying public on a specific matter of political or national interest. Issues can be drawn from the wide spectrum of areas that governance systems are established to manage, preside over, support or subsidise – and can range from a fundamental exploration of the nature of power and meaning of democracy itself, to public discussion on the mechanics of delivering a service such as water between water users, service providers and

Examples of past projects for good governance

    •    Radio and community theatre for Decentralisation and democratisation in Malawi

    •    Using arts and communication to improve Local Governance in Zimbabwe 

    •    Public discussion on the legal and political implications of the food crisis in Malawi
    •    National tour of performances and workshops

Training in applying theatre and communication to improve governance includes interrogating good governance principles; approaches for engaging local and national leadership; how to ambush or integrate the target audience; how to use alienation effectively; how to bring target audiences into the process and why this is valuable; designing a “Good Governance” intervention; structuring community dialogue into theatre games and production; Constructing narratives to explore for example, principles of power, decision making processes, engagement, disempowerment, disenfranchisement, rights, vigilance, accountability; making theatre about specific issues eg: voting, corruption, leadership, service delivery.

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

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