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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Community Theatre and Public Health in Malawi
Author:Kerr, David
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic term:Malawi
Subjects:public health
Architecture and the Arts
Health and Nutrition
Education and Oral Traditions
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/2636407
Abstract:This paper describes an experiment, initiated in 1985, in linking performing arts with primary health care campaigns in Machinga and Zomba districts in Malawi. The groups participating were the Primary Health Care (PHC) Unit of the Liwonde Agricultural Department Division and the University of Malawi's Theatre for Development. The theatre group had already established aesthetic and organizational strategies to ensure that the communities where they performed not only had their interests genuinely reflected in the dramas but gained increasing control over the theatre process. The result was a series of performances where the debates about such matters as the siting of village wells or the performance of Village Health Committees took off in unplanned directions, drifting in and out of the frame of fantasy provided by the story and back into the 'safety' of the frame when it became too embarrassing to individual members of the audience. The PHC plays illustrate, in a modest way, a particular stage in the process of self-realization, increased solidarity and strategizing for change. Ref.