What is TFD?
Theatre for Development (TFD) is more than simply making and performing plays. It gives target group representatives - who typically develop and perform the plays - the opportunity to tell their own stories, addressing matters that are relevant to them.
While developing the plot, the actors start analysing their own situation. After the performance (first in the own community, possibly repeated in other settings), this analysis is extended to the audience by asking questions like: Why did the lead character do this? What could he/she have done differently? What can we ourselves do to prevent or solve such situations? This debate forms the spring board to the next stage: participatory action planning.
When to use TFD?
TFD is a powerful tool for triggering dialogue on sensitive matters such as taboo-related topics, conflict situations, and inequalities based on gender, ethnicity, or religion. Drama techniques such as mirroring, exaggeration, and ridiculing can help to put daily challenges in perspective and transcend hurdles for change. By inviting people to act out their own solutions on stage, alternatives can be collectively visualised and community ownership enhanced.