History Of Applied Theatre English Literature Essay

In this chapter will show a brief overview of the construct of Applied Theatre as my get downing point in order to reply the inquiry formulated by this thesis: “ What function can use theatre drama in the reintegration of former child-soldiers? ” Based upon the inquiry, this chapter is interested in what AT can make instead than what it is. I will so research African Indigenous[ 1 ]theater and ritual public presentation patterns to happen out if there are similarities with AT. I argue that art processes, in any signifier, whether AT or autochthonal public presentations or rites can be a utile method for alteration and for assisting people to place the spreads in society that divides and those elements that can assist to agitate alteration for a advanced community.

Applied theater is a broad scope of theater patterns that autumn outside the conventional theatre scenes ( Thompson 2003 ) with its trained histrions, five Acts of the Apostless, apron arch and paid audiences. It is theatre done in topographic points where theater is to the lowest degree expected such as in prisons, refugee cantonments, disregarded estates, infirmaries, museums, Centres for the handicapped, old people ‘s places and underserved rural small towns ( Thompson 2003:15 ) . One of its most important properties is that it gives voice to the voiceless and it is theatre for, by, and with the people. As Thompson puts it, “ aˆ¦Applied theatre becomes a pattern that engages with the political relations of prepositionsaˆ¦ ” ( Thompson 2003:15 ) ; which means that applied theatre manner of battle takes a bottom-up attack to pattern. It is a collective of theater patterns that uses theatre and drama-based procedures including, mask, puppetry, mummer, sculpting, dance, music, art, narrative fashioning and storytelling. AT covers a overplus of theatre patterns such as Theatre in Prison, Theatre in Education ( TIE ) , Theatre of the Oppressed ( TO ) , Women ‘s Theatre, Theatre in Place of War and Theatre for Development ( TfD ) . All of these are single theater patterns that utilise the theatrical procedures to prosecute persons and groups in phenomenal ways that differs loosely from the theater of the commercial genres. What these patterns have in common is that they are participatory in range and seek to accomplish, as the ultimate end, a alteration in fortunes to better the batch of peculiar groupings on the peripheries of society or as Taylor informs, these theaters signifiers are:

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“ aˆ¦powered by the demand to alter: a community is aching and theaters can enable people to treat their injury ; or if there are excessively many unneeded Acts of the Apostless of disease, of hatred, and of substance maltreatment in our thick, theater might be one manner for a community to see alternativesaˆ¦ ” ( Taylor 2003 ) .

Whenever a community is fractured as a consequence of natural catastrophes, wars or even by wellness issues such as HIV/AIDS, alcohol addiction, drug dependence, Applied Theatre can be a good procedure to make what Prentki and Preston explains as “ aˆ¦processes that return participants and audiences beyond the range of conventional theater into the kingdom of a theater that is antiphonal to ordinary people and their narratives, local scenes and prioritiesaˆ¦ ” ( Prentki and Preston 2009:9 ) , or as Taylor informs, it is a good mechanism to forestall life endangering behaviours such as domestic force, race dealingss, young person self-destruction, and to mend fractured identitiesaˆ¦ ” ( Taylor 2003:1 ) . These fractured individualities may emerge from natural catastrophes, and other such anomalousnesss that upset the position quo doing pandemonium and atomization of communities and peoples such as armed struggles. It is of import to observe that applied theater participants do non necessitate preparation as histrions to prosecute since it is a theater for people to prosecute in the procedure together enabling alteration. Better put, Thompson explains therefore, that Applied Theatre does non “ leave in participants a public presentation accomplishment to be merely replayed subsequently ” ( Thompson 2003 ) , it is non like practising a scripted drama with a beginning, a center, and an terminal. In other words, participants would utilize the applied theater procedure in such a manner that the procedure becomes uninterrupted and would maintain on germinating which Thompson describes as “ action fragmentsaˆ¦ ” ( Thompson 2003 ) , and merely remembering what resonates for their needed alteration.

It is the kind of pattern that intersects with other subjects ( Thompson 2003 ) such as wellness, anthropology, instruction, the aged, adult females and gender issues, people populating with disablements it becomes a really good tool for research without seeking to feign to be an expert in those Fieldss. AT is about prosecuting people and communities so they can, together, happen another manner of covering with specific state of affairss that affect them as persons and as a group. Because of its efficacious character, participants are able to detect alternate ways of nearing a job. Furthermore, it is theatre that is done in unexpected topographic points outside the conventional theater edifices ( Thompson 2003 ) . This signifier of theater is target-specific. It is the tool of alteration that is accessible to marginalised and disempowered groups.

Examples of AT can be found in the TO ( see ) or Thompson Kothuru ( see ) in Sri Lanka to mention a few. In these illustrations, one can spot.

History of African Indigenous and Ritual theater

Expression at cultural norms, rites, community, socialization

African Indigenous Theatre

I am utilizing the term theater as an all across-the-board term to discourse African autochthonal theater patterns.

Many African bookmans and theatre practicians intimate that African theater day of the months back some 5,000 to 50,000 old ages. ( Banham 2004 ) , nevertheless, written certification of the history does non be due to the fact that Africa was chiefly an unwritten tradition and patterns are passed down orally from one individual or group to the following. African autochthonal theater patterns include, mime, dance, vocals, music, mask, festivals and rites and storytelling. Adelugba and Obafemi say that such patterns are, “ aˆ¦cycle of human life marked by a sequence of these eventsaˆ¦ ” ( Banham 2004 ) . These art signifiers, nevertheless, should non be viewed strictly as amusement since they normally have specific purposes and aims. For illustration, among these art signifiers there are public presentation humanistic disciplines for instruction, rites settling differences, birth, funerals and agricultural ( Banham 2004:138 ) .

Indigenous theater comes from the community, doing it communal in range and the groups work as a collective. The theater they create comes from the participants. It has no apron arch or raked seating. There are normally no differentiation between creative person and witnesss, and public presentations can take topographic point anyplace. This is apparent in public presentations in the streets in a football field, market, and town-squares across the continent. Another major aspect of autochthonal theater is that there are no written books. In other words, the theater comes from within the ego of the creative person. This Harding positions as:

“ aˆ¦quite different, for the art is produced in the ego of the creative person, and the entity therefore produced each clip is defined temporally in vivo, produced in and by the performing artist as both creative person and art object. It is seen and heard through presence, voice and motion and its impermanent being verified by the presence of witnesss. The quality of its temporalty is physical, embodied in the performing artist ; it is rendered everlastingly passing, bing merely for every bit long as the performing artist performsaˆ¦ ” ( Harding 2002:3 ) .

African autochthonal theaters can non be discussed without admiting the arguments environing the term. Academicians, theoretician and theater professionals argue about whether Africa ‘s autochthonal public presentations and rites can be classified as ‘theatre ‘ or as ‘drama ‘ . Finnegan argues that “ aˆ¦with a few possible exclusions, there is no tradition in Africa of artistic public presentations which includes all the elements which might be demanded in a rigorous definition of play or at least non with the accents to which we are accustomed ” ( Finnegan as cited by Kirby 1974:22 ) . Some African bookmans and theatre practician holds similar position. However they put it in a different manner. They argue that public presentation, festivals, rites, and dance were non known as theater or play. These are European footings. ( CITATION ) . Still, it does non change Africa ‘s claim ancient public presentation patterns that predate Europe. ( BARBER ) . Kirby use the term ‘quasi ‘ in mention to the African autochthonal. However, it seems he was someway confused by what he witnessed because he continued by describe some of the patterns as theatrical and play. ( KIRBY ) . When Finnegan used the term ‘we ‘ , it implies that she is talking for a huge figure of people. Because Drama comes from the Greek, dran, intending ‘to do ‘ and theaters comes from the Greek, theatron, intending the seeing topographic point, it would look, in the instance of Finnegan, that because largely a big portion of Africa were former settlements of Britain they did non Anglicised many of their ‘primitive ‘ footings. Furthermore, if ‘artistic ‘ ( Finn ) public presentation evolved in a European sense-theatre ; apron, specific aesthetic signifier of stating a narrative – if these define theater so it came in with European. This seems to be the bone of contention.

Autochthonal theater patterns and rites are utilized as tools for alteration, for development, for HIV/AIDS consciousness, for maternal and child wellness, for adult females, peace and security. Nahim informs that rites for the reintegration of ex-combatants, including misss took the signifier of dispossession, forfeit, cleansing, testimony, moving out in order to let go of what they believe to be evil, a spirit. One illustration of forfeit is: killing a caprine animal, or sheep, depending on the specific state of affairs the participants are in. The participants are so washed with the blood from the animate being, after which a public presentation of dance and enchantment takes topographic point. The immorality is transferred into the dead animate being and the individual additions freedom for all the atrociousnesss he or she may hold commission in the war. A emanation with costumes, sing, dancing marched through the town to a river where the participants are washed in the river – they so receive a new set of vesture and the old 1s are burned. ( Nahim 2009 ) .

Against this background,

“ aˆ¦Drama is an built-in portion of socio-cultural life of Sierra Leone. It features in every signifier of societal interaction. In festivals and jubilations, spiritual and cultic rites, in storytelling Sessionss and even daily interactions, the component of being in a province of ownership, of role-playing and caricature and assorted functional play as so apparent that their staginess is frequently taken for granted.

“ aˆ¦Especially noteworthy in the current context of rapprochement in Sierra Leone are grassroots enterprises for the rehabilitation of ex-combatants. Working with NGOs, local communities in many parts of the state are make overing patterns of divination and forfeit, composing ritual procedures for the cleaning, healing, and reintegration of immature ex-combatants. In so making, they create their societal and moral universe anew as they re-member it through ritual ” ( Shaw 2002:268 ) .

Byam 17 – “ Many TfD undertakings have addressed the jobs of bad roads, dirty imbibing H2O, or hapless wellness conditions without associating them to the societal and political constructions that encourage such jobs.

Throughout Africa, many autochthonal theaters patterns are ethnically contained-meaning, it is kindred to peculiar groupings of people. This does non intend that the influences on other groups have non occurred. There is a common yarn that runs the gamut of autochthonal patterns throughout Africa such as storytelling which Kirby describes as “ important autochthonal public presentation manner ‘ . The masks are besides common across Africa, at least in footings of construction.

Harmonizing to Kirby, “ rites frequently have a quasi-dramatic construction composed of sequence of more or less independent events ” KKIRBY 24 ) . The ritual signifier utilises ‘symbolic passages ” . For illustration, rites are cyclic and extend over a figure of yearss, and are structured around apothegms that are sung, interpreted, danced, and acted out, while certain objects ( natural artificats, art objects ) are displayed, manipulated, carried, and moved about in dramatic public presentations by groups of novices ( Biebuyck 74 ) Kirby ) ) 24 ) .

However, being an unwritten civilization, those in the literate universe have come to debate what Africa claims to be theatre.

Academic discourse on African autochthonal theater is combative at best as the arguments seem to connote ( Kirby 1974 ; Sheriff 2004 ; Ukaegbu 2009 ) to call a few. Some bookmans question Africa ‘s claim to theatre in their historical yesteryear. Some faculty members and theatrical professionals argue that Africa does non hold theaters and is of the position that whatever Africa has in footings of public presentation and rites or play either does non suit into what is known in the West as ‘theatre ‘ . It would connote that Finnegan is talking for a huge bulk of people when she uses the term ‘we ‘ ( Kirby 1974 ) . It seems that because largely a big portion of Africa can be described as former settlements of Britain, they did non Anglicised many of their ‘primitive ‘ footings. Furthermore, if ‘artistic public presentation ‘ ( F 516 ) evolved in a European sense-theatre, location, apron, specific aesthetic signifier of stating a narrative ; five Acts of the Apostless, manner to traditional play – if these define ‘theatre ‘ , so it came in with European.

Many African bookmans and authors besides portion Finnegan ‘s position in so far as the term ‘theatre ‘ may be concerned ; nevertheless, they put it in a different manner. They write that public presentation, festivals, rites, and dance were non known as theater or play. These are European footings. ( CITATION ) Drama comes from the Greek, dran, intending ‘to do ‘ and theaters comes from the Greek, theatron, intending the seeing topographic point. Still, it does non change Africa ‘s claim to ancient old public presentations patterns that predates colonial Europe. ( Barber et al. 1997 ; Banham 2004 ; Ukaegbu 2009 ) . Apparently, it is the term ‘theatre ‘ that is in contention and non whether Africa has similar patterns. From classical, modern-day, to going theater, Africa can tout a vivacious theater signifier autochthonal, traditional to popular and modern theatrical signifiers. Most bookmans agree that the Africa ‘s autochthonal and rites are intertwined with autochthonal public presentation pattern. This means that what the colonialists left behind has been reformed to be more far-reaching to suit within the local civilizations.

Decisions such as those presented by Finnegan, and others, are restraints imposed upon African public presentation. African bookmans ( CITATION ) are contending these restraints to take those boodles. Most of what Africa has in footings of theater, despite what some scholarships iterate as to whether it is ritual theater or play, is participatory, is endogenous, and is ever performative. What is even more of import to this paper is that African autochthonal theater is transformative.

I would wish to compare African Indigenous public presentation and rites with AT. It is clear that what Africa practiced what is now coined as AT. As many African bookmans and theater practicians have said, is more participatory and brings audience in or makes it with them. The Strength of theaters is that it is unrecorded and do non needfully necessitate a dry run as in the conventional theater puting. Pre-colonial public presentations in Africa

Applied theater has come to include mask as is apparent in Boal and others. For the post-colonial and contemporary African Theatre, mask has and is ever used as manner to decide difference. For illustration: aˆ¦ .

The same agreement holds for traditional African theater whose constructions does non needfully uncover a cumulative development of scenes. What is usually obtains is a odds and ends of independent studies all bound to a common message on communal harmoniousness. Without uncertainty, the nexus of traditional play to ritual and folklore must hold dictated this form.

Oyin Ogunba describes the construction of traditional African play: aˆ¦ is organized on an episodic footing. An histrion comes frontward and dramatizes a historical event or a myth or merely creates a scene with his visual aspect and general bearing, and this act may hold small or no relationship at all with the proceeding or subsequent one ; so two Acts of the Apostless mimed in sequence at a festival may, in history, have been separated by centuries ( foot note ) cheque ) . ( 254 ) the dramatic touch of difference: theater, ain and foreign by Erika fischer-Lichte, Josephine Riley.

As respect set uping societal alteration in the involvement of the common adult male, traditional AT may non overtly prescribe category confrontation as inescapable. A ground for this more quiet stance could be the affinity between traditional AT and worship which inherently abhors force – peculiarly of a sort that is riotous of internal peace and harmoniousness. In this context, hence, the more affable veneer of sarcasm seems preferred for demands on societal alteration. Th societal end of cheapness is non dissimilar to that of heroic poem theater, since both are finally committed to germinating a societal order that guarantees equity and the chase of felicity for all.

Ukaegbu ‘s ( 2004 ) work suggests that this may be a limited position, nevertheless, and that –

instead than being comparatively new – applied theatre signifiers are every bit ancient as theatre itself. He traces what might now be called applied theater in the earliest African public presentation rites ( 2004: 45- 54 ) , seeing much of what is applied theatre patterns as ‘later by-products ‘ ( 2004: 52 ) . He explains that: irrespective of cultural differences, traditional public presentations everyplace are applied for history informs us that while ancient Greeks ‘applied ‘ Dionysia public presentations to beef up community bonds, the early European Church used them to transform disciples ‘ overall spiritual and cultural experiences. ( 2004: 53 )

Ukaegbu argues that what is being described as applied theater has been traveling for a really long clip – but it was n’t, of class, called ‘applied theater ‘ . It was called ‘theatre ‘ or ‘performance ‘ . He explains that: ‘Traditional African public presentations straddle sacred-secular boundaries but by commanding some signifier of investing in efficacious result, most public presentations can function ritual and aesthetic maps at the same time. ‘ ( 2004: 53 ) ‘What is needed is non a new construct or definition but the re-introduction of production schemes and corporate concerns that created the traditional public presentations that audiences attended as participants alternatively of as degage witnesss. ‘ ( 2004: 53 )

Participants may take to work out issues that affect their lives and communities whether societal or political. Although aesthetic aids in beef uping the messages that may be the intended intent, it is the procedure of play that allows participants to detect legion attacks to a state of affairs. Applied Theatre is a multi-faceted field ( ) in that it transcends subjects ; working in wellness, instruction, It means theatre that that uses theatre and/or drama-based procedures that may include art, music, dance, play, improvisation and storytelling. The alone thing about this phenomenal pattern is that it is ever participant-led. Audience engagement is caution for AT although this is non an absolute.

Community theater, prison theater, medical theater, educational theater are all theatre-specific patterns that is purposeful. Mentioning O’Toole, it

“ Being actively involved in a group procedure and particularly one that requires you to physically play with incidents, narratives and emotions, might be authorising in itself. It might in fact intervene to increase the power of a certain group in a community in a direct manner. P169

This separation insists that a community must hold the power to state their ain narratives and have their cognition of the particulars of their lives respected before intercessions can be enacted. This moeel claims that intercession is merely feasible if it is based on community ‘s analysis of demands and that theatre itsel in TAR is non an intercession. P. 168 ( Participatory theater.


Banham, M. ( 2004 ) A History of Theatre in Africa, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Barber, K. , Collins, J. & A ; Ricard, A. ( 1997 ) West African popular theater, Indiana Univ Pr.

Harding, F. ( 2002 ) The Performance Arts in Africa: a Reader, Routledge.

Kirby, E.T. ( 1974 ) ‘Indigenous African Theatre ‘ , The Drama Review: TDR, vol. 18 no. 4, pp. 22-35.

Nahim, E. , MD, ( 2009 ) Personal interview, Via telephone, 9 Sept. 2009.

Prentki, T. & A ; Preston, S. ( explosive detection systems. ) ( 2009 ) The Applied Theatre Reader, Routledge, Oxon, UK.

Shaw, R. ( 2002 ) Memories of the Slave Trade: Ritual and the Historical Imagination in Sierra Leone, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.

Sheriff, M. ( 2004 ) ‘Sierra Leone ‘ in A History of Theatre in Africa, Banham, M. ( ed. ) , Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 171-180.

Taylor, P. ( 2003 ) Applied Theatre: Creating Transformative Encounters in the Community, Heinemann Drama, Portsmouth, NH.

Thompson, J. ( 2003 ) Applied Theatre: Bewilderment and Beyond, Peter Lang Publishing.

Ukaegbu, V. ( 2009 ) ‘Performative brushs: public presentation intercession in marketing wellness merchandises in Nigeria ‘ , Journal of Applied Arts and Health, vol. 1 no. 1, pp. 35-51.


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