A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE EXPERIMENT AND FEEDBACK OF THE THEATRE FOR DEVELOPMENT PROJECT IN IBIAKU COMMUNITY 2013
Community theatre as a theatre of the people, by the people and for the people has the potential to empower the people. Since theatre involves drama, this study has seen how to use drama as a medium, a channel, or a vehicle through the elements of dance and music, folklores, stories, local and traditional idioms and proverbs to enlighten the populace take on how to handle situations that impede their progress, thus empowering them to take decisions and necessary steps that will enhance and change such situation positively. Most community theatre projects are tagged as half-success considering the inability of the facilitators to embark on a follow-up and feedback service; a post- community theatre assessment. This work attempted to unveil the idea of community theatre as a better alternative in empowering the rural inhabitants who are far from the government’s provision using the Ibiaku Community Theatre Experience; a community theatre project embarked by the 2012/ 2013 level 300 (Group One) students of the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Uyo, Uyo. The personal experiences gotten by the researcher who was a member of the group served as the primary source of information. Other sources of information are the library internet materials, journal, published and unpublished articles on community theatre operations. The study concludes by calling on government adoption of community theatre in terms of rural development while suggesting that community theatre facilitators should see the practice as the panacea to the rural underdevelopment in Nigeria.
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
- GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Development media theory which relates to media structures and performance in developing societies provides a strong theoretical basis for understanding the relationship between theatre and development. The theory takes into focus what Folarin describes as “a magnanimous variety of socio-cultural, economic and political condition which dwells on the effective use of the media for development purpose” (7). Categorically, the theory sees the function of the media in society as essential target at engineering and sustaining societal development in such areas as culture, social economic, politics and technology development. The theory also advocates a situation where the media, inclusive of theatre, must accept and assist in carrying out the special development task of national integration, socio-economic modernization, promotion of illiteracy and cultural creativity.
Theatre, as media and a form of entertainment, holds the attention of the people and enables them to analyze issues and problems in a critical way. It contributes to the development of a community. It creates realness and concretization to issues concerning the people. The audiences are involved intellectually and emotionally. Duruaku defines Theatre for Development as, “a theatre practiced in the rural communities mainly for the purpose of enlightenment… It also becomes a means of projecting the plight of rural populace and making them aware of their potentialities so that they may better their lives” (18).
Community Theatre enables people to identify easily and solve common issues and problems affecting them. Irene Salami, as cited by Egwuada, defines Community Theatre as,
A means of expression, which has traditionally been used to educate the young, unify the community and articulate the community felt concern and aspiration of the people...It builds on an educational approach and means of communication …refers to drama, songs, dances, and puppetry. All these are geared towards attracting the popular masses and performed in the language and idioms best understood by the people (21).
It may be seen as a theatre performed purely for entertainment or enlightenment and not for commercial purposes. In line with this, Okwori sums up that, “For Theatre experience to qualify to be called community Theatre, it should be based on the problems or issues confronting the people. It should use these very people’s artistic forms of expression –singing, dancing…” (13-14).