THEATRE FOR DEVELOPMENT AS TOOL FOR SOCIETAL GROWTH: (A CASE STUDY OF JOFORO COMMUNITY)

THEATRE FOR DEVELOPMENT AS TOOL FOR SOCIETAL GROWTH: (A CASE STUDY OF JOFORO COMMUNITY)

ABSTRACT

The project focuses on Theatre for development as a tool for societal growth with the case study of the Joforo community in Badagry west local council Development Area. Through the use of drama, the study explores the challenges the community faced. After the drama’s production –acted by the community herself, a discussion and analysis followed. The discussions and the key point of the discussion became a template for the Joforo community to the executive. This study will also highlight how TFD (Theatre for Development) can be used for enhancing and growing a community and, also through that, a society. 

 

TABLE OF CONTENT

    PAGES

Title page i

Certification ii

Dedication iii

Acknowledgement iv

Abstract v

Table of Content vi

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

1.1 Introduction 1

1.2 Background of Study 6

1.3 Purpose of Study 7

1.4 Research Methodology 8

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

2.0 Literature Review 9

2.1 Introduction 9

2.2 The Implication and Relevance of TFD 11

2.3 The Theatre Practitioner as a Catalyst in Development 15

2.4 Improvisation and Theatre for Development 16

2.5 Method of TFD 17

 

 

CHAPTER THREE

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

3.0 Introduction 18

3.1 Location and People of Badagry 19

3.2 History of Joforo Community 20

3.3 Pressing Issues in Joforo Community 24

3.4 Research Method 25

 

 

CHAPTER FOUR

4.1 Analysis of Joforo Community Project 27

4.2 Evaluation 28

4.3 Follow-Up of Joforo Community Project 28

 

 

CHAPTER FIVE

5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation 30

5.1 Summary 30

5.2 Conclusion 30

5.3 Implication of Study 31

5.4 Recommendation 31

5.5 Suggestions for Further Studies 32

References 33

 

CHAPTER ONE

1.1 INTRODUCTION

It is most important to cite a useful definition from Walter- Rodney of what development is and how underdevelopment has affected the African population. To him,

“Development in human society is a many-sided process. At the level of the individual, it implies increased skill and capacity, greater freedom, creativity, self-discipline, responsibility and material well-being. Some of these are virtually moral categories and are difficult to evaluate – depending on the age in which one lives, class origins, and code of what is right and what is wrong. However, indisputably, the achievement of any of those aspects of personal development is very much tied in with the state of the society as a whole” (1973:7).

Nothing is impossible in human society. To be precise, man found himself as a lucky being unto God, designed in his image to HAVE dominion over the universe, but man took it as a great disadvantage which led to some countries having power, the stability and the ability to govern other countries like Africa countries. However, development is gradual processing that transforms the whole structure of human society. From solving problems, creativity and transparency in government are the targets for development.

From the earliest times, man found it convenient and necessary to come together in groups to hunt and for the necessary survival. In any given society, individuals have a role to play that will enable us to regulate our respective political structures; This is because the ruling elements within each group are the ones that begin to dialogue, trade or fight, as the case may be. At the level of social groups, perhaps development implies an increasing capacity to regulate both internal and external relationships. Frankly, societies were disrupted, tribal wars were frequent laws changed, making crimes punishable by slavery, while our people felt insecure Much of human history has been a fight for survival against natural disasters and against real and imagined human enemies. Development in the past has always meant an increase in the ability to guard the independence of the social group and the freedom of others. Men are not the only beings who operate in groups, but the human species embarked upon a unique line of development owning to the fact that man could make and use tools. The ability and stimulus to make tools and the act of utilizing them increase rationality. However, the work with tools liberated men from a sheer physical necessity so that they could impose themselves upon other more powerful species and upon nature itself. The tools with which men work and organize their labour are major social development indices.

Walter, in a sense, is saying that for development to have its perfect definition, individual citizens must have put their skills, talents and potentiality together to develop a given society better. In essence, development does not occur without the contribution of every citizen. Walter understood the place of individual contribution to better develop a nation; individuals make a nation.

In Africa, the limits of enquiry have had to be fixed as far apart as the fifteenth century, on the one hand, and the end of the colonial period, on the other hand. Perhaps an analysis of underdevelopment should come even closer to the present than the end of the colonial period in the 1960s. The phenomenon of neo-colonialism cries out for extensive investigation to formulate the strategy and tactics of African emancipation and development. For many decades, developments in Africa have yielded little or no returns. Nevertheless, most African countries have bad economies, incomes are lower than theirs, health processes are meagre, malnutrition is widespread, education is backward, and infrastructure is nothing good.

 

What is underdevelopment?

Having discussed ‘development’ makes it easier to comprehend the concept of underdevelopment. Underdevelopment is not the absence of development because each individual has developed in one way or another and to a greater or lesser extent. Underdevelopment occurs when resources are not used to their full socio-economic potential, with the result that affects the people or regional development being lower in most cases than it should be. Nevertheless, this leads to a complex interplay of internal and external factors that allow less developed countries only a lop-sided characterized by a wide disparity chair rich and poor populations and an unhealthy balance of trade which results in environmental degradation, is also a big cause to African underdevelopment. It is very much tied to the fact that human social development has been uneven, and from a strictly economic viewpoint, some human groups have advanced further by producing more and becoming wealthier. The discussion about the African underdevelopment, I believe, is a complex issue which can easily be traced down to European’s past (and present) exploitation; before the Europeans came on the boat and took our forefathers for exploitation, Africa as a continent had vibrant economies coupled with social and political structures.

Europeans had several disputes and disruptions to these structures to create wealth for themselves. European dominance over most of Africa through the transatlantic slave trade lasted 440 years, from 1444 to 1885, starting from the arrival of Portuguese ships on West African shores. In 1444, the Europeans set up elaborated triangular trading systems to transport enslaved Africans, import plantation produce and export European goods to Africa and the Americans. This led to a large percentage of skilled tradesmen and women from various occupations and professions making their contributions to African societies; without them, African societies themselves were weakened. Many factors have been held responsible for the apparent failure of development in Africa Colonialism, leaders’ corruption, poor labour discipline, inappropriate policies, improper trade balance, inflation, a limited inflow of foreign capital and a low level of investment and savings. All of which serve as serious impediments, and by all indications, political conditions in Africa are the greatest impediment to development. Therefore, we can conclude that part of what has caused underdevelopment in African societies is the lack of education. Countries with a well-educated population tend to be developed. Countries without education tend to be underdeveloped. There are other causes, such as foreign ownership of the country’s resources, but education is the most paramount.

The theatre known for its immediacy is employed as a viable tool of expression in the influence, propagation and presentation of development. At every point where government policies and existing media institutions, electronic and print, have failed, Theatre for development has reached the vast majority in rural areas, which constitute the bulk of the populace inhabiting a nation. Edwin Piscator said;

‘Community theatre, also known as a theatre for development, is known as Amateur dramatics or Amdram in the United Kingdom, and it is a very popular form of theatre in which all or most of the participants were unpaid or amateur’. Piscator, (1993:8).

From the above citation, one can deduce that Theatre for development generally resembles professional Theatre in all ways except in the unpaid natures of the artists. Perhaps, Theatre for development was generally more traditional since all forms of Theatre were practised in these non-professional venues. “The stage is a laboratory for examining society” Piscator, (2003:7).

On a similar note, community theatre views society’s problems and tries to proffer solutions to them in a simple commonest way possible. For instance, after the 1993 Nigeria election, Wole Soyinka played a vital role in criticizing many Nigerian military dictatorships, especially Late General Sanni Abacha, and other political tyrannies. Much of his writing has been concerned with the oppression boost and the irrelevance of the foot that wears it. Professor Wole Soyinka took an active role in Nigeria’s political history and its struggle for independence from Great Britain and among its people, which is a bit has helped Nigeria’s politics to have a proper stand in the world. On the other hand, community theatre has also played an important role in communities’ development. It has helped develop our rural and urban areas in this major part of the world (Africa) to understand the total concept of community theatre without misunderstanding its goal and objectives. I believe a working definition will provide us with this understanding of what is community theatre? Community theatre refers to theatrical performance made concerning particular communities – its usage includes performance modes from commercial Theatre. Community theatre is understood to contribute to the social capital of a community in so far as it develops the skills, community spirit, and artistic sensibilities of those who participate or audience-member. Community theatre is one of the viable weapons for the critical, objective, and result-oriented analysis of a nation crying for a re-birth. For instance, in every community, there was usually a time of general festivities and this provided opportunities for the youths and adults, as the case may be, to compose songs through which they commented on the happenings within their society. When a king did well, they sang in praise of him, and when he failed in his duty, they mocked him and abused him to the hearing of his people. We, therefore, see that one of the basic responsibilities of “community theatre” is to comment on the issues of his time, and he can go further still to suggest solutions to existing problems or predict, through the power its profess, the future if such problems are not solved. We may like to consider the contributions of modern Nigeria travelling Theatre to public awareness in the Nigerian society. Apart from dramatizing historical plays, these artists equally use their plays to comment on the political and social situations in the country. Africa as a whole, since the decade, has been struggling with development in every sphere; that is why the European nation considered the black nation (Africa) as underdeveloped. It is, however, true that we are climbing the leader of development gradually and are still learning from our colonial masters. Among all of this, Africa has employed many factors of “Drama” to promote change. Theatre for Development (TFD) means performance or Theatre used as a development tool. TFD encompasses the following in-person activities. Theatre for development can also be defined as a progression from less interactive theatre forms to a dialogical process, where Theatre is practised with the people or by the people as a way of empowering communities, listening to their concerns and then encouraging them to voice and solve their problem adopting the solutions provided by TFD. For instance, in some rural and urban areas where there is no progress, Theatre for development can then be employed to speak with the people, either about the good qualities of education, or the virtues or value of a good leader, depending on the problems which lie on their shoulder. Theatre for development not only finds out problems; it ultimately provides the appropriate solution that would leave long-lasting progress in that community. In some parts of Africa, like Zambia, Theatre for development has been employed to promote education. Theatre for development in Zambia is defined “as modes of Theatre whose objective is to disseminate messages or concretize communities about their objective social, political situation. Sydney (1993: 48). It aims to make the people aware of their problems and active participants in the development process by expressing their viewpoints and acting to better their conditions. Theatre for development can be a kind of participatory Theatre that encourages improvisation and audience members to take roles in the performance, or it can be fully scripted and staged, with the audience observing. Hundreds, if not thousands, of organizations and initiatives have used Theatre as a development tool: for education propaganda, as therapy, as a participatory tool or as an exploratory tool in development. An account of the early use of TFD is the thesis theatre as a means of moral education and socialization in the development of Nauvoo, Illinois, 1839 – 1845, which recounts how Theatre was used to promote ideological and civil development in a religious community in the US. TFD is intended to empower the commoner with a critical consciousness crucial to the struggle against the forces responsible for his poverty Penina (1991: 67).

In conclusion, plays by Theatre for development are performed to build awareness about critical topics, mostly within a political or development context. It is then of great necessity to venture into this research work to create a huge awareness of theatre development to develop Africa’s most basic problems. This research work would also go a long way to providing necessary knowledge and understanding for theatre practitioners and the society at large, and the importance of TFD for community development will be realized.

 

1.2 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY 

Badagry, an ancient town, is renowned as a seaport for its role in transporting enslaved people by the colonial masters. This historical town houses the first storey building in Nigeria. Also, foreigners troop in from all over the world to see the tourist attractions like the enslaved person relies on the museum and other monuments. However, developments in the area have not been too impressive, as investors over time have failed to take advantage of the investment opportunities, particularly the town’s proximity to business districts in Lagos. The ongoing Ten-Lane expansion of the Badagry expression way road project with a flexible rail built into it is a major development that’s, harnesses economic value to the sta in all ramifications. The development would open up the West African market to Nigerian businesses and traders and positively affect properties along the expressway. The Joforo community, part of the Badagry community, cannot be left out of the picture. Aside from that, new projects have been approved by the federal government like seaports, military schools and air force bases which are going projects. The Joforo community is still faced with pressing challenges that the community needs and the entire people had called on the government to come to their aid and assist them in the areas like schools, hospitals, pipe-born water, and good road, among many others. Recent research has proven that this community lacks basic infrastructure, which has left the community underdeveloped. The head of the community, known as the Baale: said. ‘Our schools are old, and the few public hospitals around are not equipped. Therefore, it is difficult for 0ur community to progress and achieve good things. He also lamented the lack of education that led their people to civilized towns for what is necessary for a good being or life. Chief. Whenupo II. (2014).

Having considered the most pressing challenges facing this community, it is good to suggest that Theatre for development “TFD” will be in the best position to address these issues. It is commonly said; that “people are moved by what they see than what they hear” the people of Joforo can further be enlightened through community drama of how important it is if everyone can contribute to quarters of the communities’ problems. Also, Theatre for Development is best positioned to suggest the best longing solutions to the community. Above all, Theatre For Development would project their immediate needs not just to that community alone-fore, it serves as the mouthpiece of the people to the government cooperate bodies and highly respected people. The theatre known for its immediacy is employed as a viable tool of expression in the influence, propagation and presentation of development. At every point where government policies and existing media institutions, electronic and print, have failed, Theatre for development has reached the vast majority in rural areas, which constitute the bulk of the populace inhabiting a nation.

In conclusion, development can be meaningful and effective only when it is based on the people’s real needs and involve them as full participants in a language they understand and through cultural media with which they are familiar. Hurds opines. “Born out of the challenges, decadent and diffusion societal order post-independence Africa is faced with continuous challenges, and Its (TFD) sole aim is to comfort the numerous problems created by neo-colonialism and propose based alternatives to the societal problems. Hurds (2012:10).

 

1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY 

The main point of this research study is to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To examine the concept of Theatre for development and its relevance in Joforo’s community.
  2. To examine the various functions and importance of Theatre for developing “TFD”.
  • To investigate if there is any difference in Theatre for development and other types of development processes.
  1. To also examine the effect of Theatre on development in Nigeria and Africa.

 

1.4 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

The primary source material for this project is the community project with the theme “democracy and good governance”, the research method employed by the participant in the field research, while the homestead approach will be adopted as the most viable method of TFD in this instance. This will involve the researcher moving away from the campus environment and going to ” Joforo ” ‘s targeted community”. The method of information collecting in the target community will range from interviews to informal discussions with the village head known as “Baale” and elders. The primary stage in any TFD project is the preliminary research. This will involve the participant in the person of Master Jacob Enayon Schedrack, who will also serve as a translator and the target community discussing issues and getting to understand the agenda.

A playlet is conducted to enhance information gathering for better understanding and correct the wrongs. That is societal ills in the environment.

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