A Comparative Analysis Of The Experiment And Feedback Of The Theatre For Development Project In Ibiaku Community 2013

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Development media theory which relates to media structures and performance in developing societies provides a strong theoretical basis for understanding the relationship between theatre and development. The theory takes into focus what Folarin describes as “a magnanimous variety of socio-cultural, economic and political condition which dwells on the effective use of the media for development purpose” (7). Categorically, the theory sees the function of the media in society as essential target at engineering and sustaining societal development in such areas as culture, social economic, politics and technology development. The theory also advocates a situation where the media, inclusive of theatre, must accept and assist in carrying out the special development task of national integration, socio-economic modernization, promotion of illiteracy and cultural creativity.

Theatre, as media and a form of entertainment, holds the attention of the people and enables them to analyze issues and problems in a critical way. It contributes to the development of a community. It creates realness and concretization to issues concerning the people. The audiences are involved intellectually and emotionally.    Duruaku defines Theatre for Development as, “a theatre practiced in the rural communities mainly for the purpose of enlightenment… It also becomes a means of projecting the plight of rural populace and making them aware of their potentialities so that they may better their lives” (18).

Community Theatre enables people to identify easily and solve common issues and problems affecting them. Irene Salami, as cited by Egwuada, defines Community Theatre as,

A means of expression, which has traditionally been used to educate the young, unify the community and articulate the community felt concern and aspiration of the people…It builds on an educational approach and means of communication …refers to drama, songs, dances, and puppetry. All these are geared towards attracting the popular masses and performed in the language and idioms best understood by the people (21).

It may be seen as a theatre performed purely for entertainment or enlightenment and not for commercial purposes. In line with this, Okwori sums up that, “For Theatre experience to qualify to be called community Theatre, it should be based on the problems or issues confronting the people. It should use these very people’s artistic forms of expression –singing, dancing…” (13-14).

Therefore, in pragmatic terms, Theatre for Development as a concept today is expected to fully involve people or community for whom it is meant. It is not the performers’ theatre, but the theatre for the spectator or the audience. The audience is part of the entire process from the beginning to the end. The Community must be part and parcel of the presentation. They take part in researching, data analysis, improvising and acting the play. The people for whom the play is meant for should share common features like language, traditions and must be a member of a specific community.

However, the major bane to the Theatre for Development experience, especially in Nigeria is the lack of proper follow up and feedback which is essential to further analyzes the effect of the experiment on the people. The essentiality of this is much more significant when considering development as a continuous process that encompasses the people and all necessary medium. Thus Community Theatre or Theatre for Development should not just stop at the mere dramatic performance, but should carry out constructive and comprehensible feedback in order to enforce the pristine message or theme of the experiment itself.

Mbachaga writes that, “follow up and impact evaluation in the Theatre for Development continuum has generally been a problem….lack of follow up and continuity of workshops has bedeviled the practice in Nigeria” (1). Therefore, it is the contention of this study to analyze and document the findings arrived at during the community theatre experiment in Ibiaku Community in 2013 towards highlighting the essence of constructive feedback.



The main problem of this study is that most community theatre exercise carried out by community theatre practitioners mostly in educational theatre ends up not achieving the target result for which the exercise was carried out for reasons including lack of following up the project by the facilitators. This has led to most projects being half-baked or not completed.

Community theatre can never be complete without the follow-up process. The mental development of the rural inhabitants towards enhancing the development of the community also matters in terms of his absorption of the project. The absence of the follow-up therefore affects every strata of the project negatively.



Considering that most Community Theatre projects go without adequate follow up and feedback, this project work is thus justified as it seeks to place importance on the need of feedback since the Theatre for Development process is a continuum, rather than a brief experiment.


The scope of this study will be limited to the use the importance of feedback as a major tool in enhancing the Community Theatre project. The work is limited to the Theatre for Development project carried out by the students of Theatre Arts Department of University of Uyo which is “One Womb” in 2013 at Ibiaku community of Itu Local Government, Akwa Ibom State.



Therefore, this research work is limited specifically to the use the feedback and follow-up method used in Ibiaku Community Theatre Experience, 2014 carried out by the level 300 students of the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Uyo, Uyo.


Theatre for Development has many attributes ranging from empowerment, emancipation, information

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