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Empowering communities through theatre: an applied theatre model for Botswana

Marman, D. T. (2017) Empowering communities through theatre: an applied theatre model for Botswana. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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My doctoral research comprises a combination of theory and practice. Its main aim is to develop forms of political theatre, with focus on the intersections between documentary theatre and theatre for development (TID). The practice interrogates the relationship between TID, documentary performance and forum theatre in the search of models of practice I can develop in a Botswana context to inform, create awareness, dispel myths and engage communities. My research is interdisciplinary focusing on themes that cut across political, geopolitical and sociological issues, as well as the concerns of applied theatre and theatre for development. My doctoral research brings together local, national and international perspectives from the UK, Kenya, Botswana, and Africa. A major part of my research was the creation of an immersive performance that engaged the audience in a shared experience that was responsive and dialectic. Hence, the practice was used to explore the potential of applied theatre for establishing platforms that enable participants' voices to be heard. Through this research, I evoke the sense of immediacy and relevance in relation to unfolding political and social events. Duration was a central key of the performance, which was 'perceived' and 'experienced' in real time and not conceptual time. Through this cross-fertilizing of the different aesthetic disciplines, I sought to establish radical experimentation through the development of a hybrid form of theatre that drew on mixed-media and installation performance. The written component of my thesis comprises an analysis of the devising and working methods used by relevant UK theatre companies who work within social and political contexts, with a particular focus on the work of Actors For Human Rights (AFHR) and Cardboard Citizens Theatre Company. These are theatre companies whose work engages with the marginalised, such as the homeless, migrants and the undocumented. AFHRs, whose work specialises in human rights issues, have been very significant in this research work. The results of this study are invested in the future as the forms will be adapted and grown further in Botswana to address social issues of national concern such as health, agriculture and economics.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Taylor, L. and Murjas, T.
Thesis/Report Department:Department of Film, Theatre & Television
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:74881

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