We have often been asked how a group of students delivering workshops to younger students on different themes that aim to nurture the students social/emotional growth, make them aware of belonging to a specific community, and help them to learn about various aspects of life—how is all that like a theatre performance delivered by actors in a specific community?
How is it not?
All we have changed is the context. And we have ‘democratized’ the process so that the content is no longer solely in the hands of a playwright, nor the delivery in the hands of professional theatre people
Theatre is basically a community’s social/emotional development process—though over the last 800 years different cultures using theatre have preferred to see the process in ‘patriarchal’ terms ie as a top-down process with the professionals delivering plot, character, theme, sensation etc to passive audience members.
This is still the dominant way of looking at theatre, especially since the process has been taken over by cinema and music performance.
But the teams of Peer Leaders trained in presentation, facilitation, mentoring, and prepared with the content of various themes are delivering the theatre process to their community. And their ‘audience’ is witnessing and participating in an aesthetic experience that is simultaneously raising the social capital of their community.