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Community Theatre: Can it change the world we live in? 

WHAT IS IT?

Community theatre provides a space for discussion and development within a community. It is defined as theatre which is created by and for a community. This type of theatre – sometimes referred to as “applied theatre” – deals with particular issues affecting certain communities. Young people might choose to express themselves through community theatre in order to discuss the social, cultural or personal difficulties they experience in a creative way. In doing so, they create a space for people with shared experiences and a piece of theatre specific to their community.

In turn, a performance of this personal, thought-provoking piece of theatre to other members in their community (family, friends, teachers or employers) has the power to increase awareness and understanding of particular situations affecting young people.

Community theatre workshops might be used to promote equality and integration by involving minorities or under-represented groups and telling their stories. Exploring diverse topics encourages an understanding of social diversity. Often, the aim of community theatre is to tackle social concerns and taboo topics while encouraging community spirit.

WHO CAN GET INVOLVED?

Anyone can lead or take part in a community theatre project. There is no requirement to be a professional performer. Community theatre focuses on real people with real concerns and personal stories to tell.

WHY GET INVOLVED?

Community theatre can be an excellent tool for development within communities. Communities thrive when everyone plays their part and listens to those around them.

WHAT IF THERE’S NO THEATRE TO REHEARSE AND PERFORM IN?

The essential part of community theatre is that it takes place at the heart of the community. A play might be performed in a school, library, park or community centre – most public places that come to mind!

CASE STUDY:

Studios Kabako, based in the Congolese city Kisangani, was born out of the shared experience of civil war and its aftermath. Founded by Faustin Linyekula, Studios Kabako works within and for its community by offering youth programs and involving, training and working alongside young people who want to change the world around them.

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