Skip to cookie consent
Footsteps magazine issues on a wooden desk.

From: Theatre for development – Footsteps 58

Using theatre to encourage understanding about different community issues

by Ann Shrosbree.

These Rights are Mine is a project that explores the rights of the child with young people in Uganda. It uses theatre in secondary schools as a way of encouraging information-sharing and the participation of young people.

Students were given information about human rights for children, based on the UN Charter of Human Rights. They were encouraged to think about the relevance of these in their lives, and also of the responsibilities of young people that go with those rights.

About 180 pupils from six secondary schools in Kampala, Uganda, worked with Small World Theatre, a UK-based theatre group. Each school chose up to five of the rights most important to them to form the basis of a play. Together, pupils researched, planned and practised a play about the ‘rights of the child’ for their school, nearby primary schools, the local community and policy makers. Forty students also took part in three performances for the National Theatre in Kampala which brought a lot of interest from the media.

An exercise known as the ‘Seven Ws’ (see below) was introduced by Small World Theatre as a simple and quick way of creating a story for a central character. This method was developed with Alex Mavrocordatos during participatory theatre training in Nepal with street theatre performers (including Aarohan – see page 4).

This exercise uses seven questions to help create different aspects of the situation of the central character. The questions encourage people to move forward and then back in time, to explore the causes and consequences of the characters’ actions and those of others affected by the situation.

The project aimed to explore what the ‘rights of the child’ actually meant to young people in Uganda. It used participatory theatre to create stories from the experiences of the participants. Sexual abuse within the family emerged as a particularly important theme for these young people. Each group of participants is encouraged to create an interactive play that can be used to educate other students on child rights.

The project is supported in partnership by the British Council, Uganda, and Small World Theatre. For more information, contact Ann Shrosbree, Small World Theatre, PO Box 45, Cardigan, SA43 1WT, UK. E-mail: smallworld@enterprise.net Website: www.smallworld.org.uk 

The Seven Ws…

WHO is this? (name, nationality/tribe/ culture, age, economic status and so on) 

WHAT is happening to them? (situation relating to the chosen rights) 

WHAT have they decided to do? (What action are they about to take?) 

WHY did they decide this? (influences, emotions) 

WHO else is affected? (other key characters) 

WHAT caused this situation? (past) 

WHAT are the consequences? (future)

Similarly Tagged Content

Share this resource

If you found this resource useful, please share it with others so they can benefit too.

Sign up now to get Footsteps magazine

A free digital and print magazine for community development workers. Covering a diverse range of topics, it is published three times a year.

Sign up now

Cookie preferences

Your privacy and peace of mind are important to us. We are committed to keeping your data safe. We only collect data from people for specific purposes and once that purpose has finished, we won’t hold on to the data.

For further information, including a full list of individual cookies, please see our privacy policy.

  • These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

  • These cookies allow us to measure and improve the performance of our site. All information these cookies collect is anonymous.

  • These allow for a more personalised experience. For example, they can remember the region you are in, as well as your accessibility settings.

  • These cookies help us to make our adverts personalised to you and allow us to measure the effectiveness of our campaigns.