Constraints in the practice of theatre for development in Nigerian tertiary institutions
This paper investigates the constraints of contemporary Theatre for Development (TfD) in Nigeria tertiary institutions. It kick-starts with a discussion on how TfD in Nigeria adapted the South America and other African countries experiences of using drama to mobilize and conscientize people for development and self reliance. However, TfD from the academia is faced with myriads of challenges. This varies from preliminary concerns, to workshops and post-TfD engagements for possible consolidation. It takes a critical look at some of the constraints; identifying their causes and their impacts on the effective practice of TfD as action research. This study has explored, through qualitative processes, the procedures of TfD in Nigeria tertiary institutions and its coordinated effort to catalyze change in target communities. The study interrogated whether the methodologies have caused reasonable individual and community change in behavior to substantially cause development. While it acknowledges that, theatre has always responded to the environment in several ways, the paper proceeds from the evidence of a near absence of follow-up mechanism of TfD practices from the academia. It admits that although there have been efforts by a few scholars to locate the hiatus, there is still a wide critical chasm in planning, monitoring and evaluation of projects. Thepaper then posits that TfD projects from the academia tends to negate the principles of democracy and that the methodology being used inhibit the creative impulse of the practitioners. It proffers the means through which these constraints could be tackled for TfD in Nigeria tertiary institutions to thrive. Anchored on the ‘trans-theoretical model of change theory’ by Prochaska & DiClemente (1983), this paper concludes that TfD practitioners should commit more time to projects and let the methodology be more change-oriented to meet the yearning and aspirations of the targeted communities.
Keywords: Development agencies, CBOs, Theatre workers, TfD, Nigerian tertiary institutions