Theatre For Development
Malawi has a strong oral tradition and village action theatre as one of the most powerful communication tools in our mobilization repertoire. Because they take place in the villages where our audiences live, incorporating local residents into the performances themselves, the dramas and the messages embedded literally hit home.
Story Workshop action theatre performances have drawn thousands of villagers to witness the productions. They have resulted in house paintings, fabric banners, local dramas, poems, songs and dances illustrating “do” and “don’t” behaviours. Messages have focused on environmental protection of Lake Chilwa, use of bednets for malaria prevention, juvenile justice issues and religious tolerance.
In each village, appeals through drama are added to messages and themes to bring the subject alive and to challenge the affected communities to reflect, listen and discuss the problems in a more informed manner.
Community interactive drama, village debates, poetry, dances and storytelling is where Story Workshop employees blend with the villagers to hold performances. Another way is where the local groups, after being trained by Story Workshop, carry out their own performances.
This happens to complement radio programming and deal with specific communities where in the long run evaluation is done. Other areas where direct interventions have not taken place on the ground are used as control in the evaluation process.
Through meticulous use of diffusion, persuasion, and social learning theories the edutainment strategy attracts people to get involved in community campaign activities and get trapped in the fun through which they come to grips with the hard hitting facts ravaging their communities.