From 1st May 2011 to 15th May 2011, Applied Theatre students from St. Mary’s University College will travel to Lilongwe, Malawi as a part of their final year Theatre for Development Module. This trip will be the culmination of their training in the Applied Theatre course at St. Mary’s University College. They will have the opportunity to work with the teacher training communities as well as bring a performance to members of Theatre for a Change (TfaC) as part of the first annual performance exchange programme between the two organisations. These shared performances would provide a stimulus for further explorations and workshops shared by St Mary’s students and participants in TfaC’s programmes.
The trip will introduce the students to the key challenges in using drama to support international development programmes. They will travel to Africa and work with trained teachers from Theatre for a Change’s centre in Lilongwe, Malawi to understand ways in which drama techniques can raise awareness about HIV / Aids prevention in schools and other learning communities in Africa. As well as exposing the students to a specific cultural context, they will have the chance to reflect on how learning within a British University can be further influenced and, if necessary, challenged, by the active practice of teachers working in Africa.
By the end of this exchange, each of the students will be able to understand the potential use of interactive drama skills as a tool for HIV / Aids prevention, participate in health education and advocacy, be able to workshop openly issues about gender equality, relationships, behaviour change and sexuality, have the confidence to practice these skills in the context of an African placement, discuss the effectiveness of specific development programmes, discuss the important political and sociological issues arising from working in this manner and, without prejudice, listen to and learn from drama teachers working in a significantly different context from their own.
As component parts of The Theatre for Development module students would become familiar with the structure and methodology of Theatre for a Change, gain a basic understanding of the socio-political situation in Malawi and by extension Southern Africa, research and pursue funding opportunities, administrate fundraising events, galvanise support and create a range of performance pieces.
St. Mary’s students are available for profile stories in the run-up to their trip.
For more information about the project, please contact Matthew Hahn, the Theatre for Development Lecturer at St. Mary’s University College at HAHNM@SMUC.AC.UK or on 0208 240 4059.