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Theatre for a Change in Malawi: Participatory approaches to Development

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Theatre for a Change (TfaC) uses innovative strategies to empower vulnerable and marginalized groups through positive behaviour change and advocacy of gender and sexual equality. Adapting their practice from Augusto Boal's Forum Theatre, TfaC's aims to change attitudes towards gender and sexuality in specific communities within Malawi. When TfaC recognized that the Protagonist in their Forum Plays was predominantly female, re-enforcing the stereotype of women within these communities, they adapted Forum Theatre's concept of 'win/loss' to explore the issues of 'equality' where any character can be replaced in order to achieve an equality in the relationship represented on stage. They call this adaptation, Touch Tag Theatre. Touch Tag Theatre is currently used to positively change the behaviour of vulnerable and marginalized groups as well as to advocate for changes in educational and legislative policy decisions to those who hold power and influence in society on a wider level.
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Keywords: African studies; Boalian theory and practice; Gender and sexual studies; Health care; Non-governmental organizations; Theatre for Development

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: St Mary's University College

Publication date: 2012-01-11

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  • The Journal of Applied Arts and Health serves a wide community of artists, researchers, practitioners and policy-makers evidencing the effectiveness of the interdisciplinary use of arts in health and arts for health. It provides a forum for the publication and debate within an interdisciplinary field of arts in healthcare and health promotion. The journal defines 'health' broadly which includes physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, occupational, social and community health.
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