Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research

Crossing the Zaure: Theatre for Development and women in Northern Nigeria

Ewu, J. (2007) Crossing the Zaure: Theatre for Development and women in Northern Nigeria. African Performance Review. 1(2 & 3), pp. 75-97. 1753-5964.

Item Type: Article
Abstract: Dominant strategies of development in the developing world have been criticised by development activists for failing to involve the participation of people particularly at grassroots level. Until recently, relatively less attention has been paid to how development as a whole has increased the gender gulf, how women continue to be undervalued and suppressed. The focus of this paper is on Theatre for Development (TfD) and women’s empowerment in Nigeria. TfD is a process-driven, grassroots community theatre practice that has emerged to challenge socio-economic and political oppressions that continue to undermine genuine popular participation in development in post-independent Nigeria. Its primary purpose is to utilise popular performance forms to facilitate community participation in development through democratic dialogue, decision-making and collective action. Tar Ahura (1982), one of the pioneers of TfD in Nigeria, had suggested that the task of practitioners is not “to force a cultural revolution on the people but to work within the cultural provisions enhancing credibility and public relations”. More than two decades later his views are still echoed by practitioners who are reluctant to rock the boat. The paper examines the evolution of TfD in Nigeria. It highlights the challenges facing the practice in its attempt to facilitate women’s participation in development. In the process it evaluates the effectiveness of the strategies employed to date to encourage women’s participation in workshops and projects. The paper argues that the factors responsible for the marginalisation of women in development are cultural and economic; that the desire by practitioners not to be perceived as a threat to a community’s cultural beliefs and values amounts to a contradiction. It suggests that any genuine attempt to mobilise women through cultural activities must be matched with a commitment to challenge and transform culture itself
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater > PN2219.3 Special regions or countries > PN2969 Africa
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN3151 Amateur theatre
Creators: Ewu, Jumai
Publisher: Adonis & Abbey
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: Faculties > Faculty of Arts, Science & Technology > Journalism, Media & Performance
Date: 2007
Date Type: Publication
Page Range: pp. 75-97
Journal or Publication Title: African Performance Review
Volume: 1
Number: 2 & 3
Language: English
ISSN: 1753-5964
Status: Published / Disseminated
Refereed: Yes
Related URLs:

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item