ADOPTING THEATRE FOR DEVELOPMENT (TFD) APPROACH TOWARDS ATTAINING OPTIMAL LITERACY IN DIGITAL AGE
DEPARTMENT OF THEATRE ARTS AND FILM ARTS
FACULTY OF ARTS, UNIVERSITY OF JOS.
Technology has always been an important part of theatre, both as a means to an end and as end in itself. Throughout the twentieth century a unifying attitude in all art forms is the desire to examine the materials and the tools of making art. In the theatre this approach significantly expands the relationships between technology and performance. This paper explores ways in which TFD approach and change in technology have been reflected in performance, and considers how TFD approach can aid towards attaining optimal literacy in the digital age. Recommendations are also given on ways of creating TFD performances to suit latest technology and recommend ways of motivating the audience towards active participation to achieve optimum literacy to fit into the digital age.
Adopting Theatre For Development (TFD) approach towards attaining optimal literacy in the digital age is about creating life performances which are made easily accessible globally through modern technology such as internet websites, computers, cable networks, and the electronic media. Such accessibility makes for a lot of advantages in terms of show casing the various communities where such programmes are held, such as their culture and experiences that other communities can borrow from. Such accessibility removes the inhibitions of the target audience, enabling them to watch performances centered on issues as prostitution, child abuse, HIV/AID, matters bothering on peace, etc and discussing characters portrayed in the performances instead of living examples. This brings them face to face with their realities and equips them with the ability to make decisions and proffer possible solutions that will bring about the desired social change within their communities.
THE CONCEPT –THEATRE FOR DEVELOPMENT
Applied Theatre is used in the field of development through a group of practices often referred to as ‘Theatre For Development (TFD) or Community Theatre (CT). These performances frequently work with rural and marginalised communities employing performance to convey pertinent health and educational messages. A community is not only the people who live in it. It includes varying aggregations of interests – things the people share in common aimed at building links so that they can see their communalities, build and enjoy them together. Community is a construct or a model that defies ethnicity. Chris Nwamuo in Betiang Liwhu, cited by Hussaini Tsaku and Reuben Embu, (2012) states that Community Theatre is not necessarily a theatre in a local community but rather a theatre that aims at achieving developmental objectives within a community through the use (traditional) media. These (traditional) media include dance, demonstration, drama, festivals, exhibitions and songs, among others (electronic media inclusive – my emphasis).
Tor Iorapuu (2004)in his submission re-affirms that Community Theatre is an educational drama or theatre for social change. It aims to raise awareness by exploring issues in creative, active and exciting ways. It is simply interactive, empowering, creative and full of fun and action. Tsaku and Embu (2012) sum up this definition succinctly: TFD/Community theatre is an alternative, interventionist and democratic theatre of the people by the people and for the people. The essence is about people playing people.
Theatre For Development performances often attempt to operate in local languages, and strive for styles, techniques, plots, and characters that are culturally appropriate. This group of performances works towards delivering health and educational messages to those not reached by mainstream initiatives, while cultivating community...
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Tsaku H. & R. Embu (2012); Creative & Critical Writing for Peace Building in Nigeria: The Jos Paradigm. Lar I. and Embu R. (eds). Akin Press & Services Nig: Ibadan.
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