COMMUNITY / STREET
Drama is a powerful and entertaining form of communication, and it can be used informally
without the need for an indoor stage or theatre house. Community or street drama is often
presented in ordinary buildings or in the open air, and can be performed in various locations.
Plays can be devised to suit the local audience and inexpensive props and costumes can be
Advantages of Community / Street Drama
Because drama is live and is performed close to the audience, it allows people to actively
respond to what they are seeing. In some cases the audience is encouraged to interact with
the actors or even asked to step into the performance themselves. Topical issues can easily be
included in the drama.
• Local people /actors can be
• Drama is easy to understand
and enjoyable for all
• Plays can be performed in the
How to use Community / Street Drama
Very short and simple drama performances can be devised without much help from
experienced actors, but for a bigger drama project experienced people will be required. They
can help with choosing, adapting or writing a script and with casting characters and
rehearsing the performance.
• Be clear about the development issue you are tackling and make sure the drama
communicates it effectively.
• Consider using local stories, humour, slang, song and dance.
• Incorporate opportunities for audience involvement.
• Consult with existing drama groups and consider using local actors.
• Consider the gender balance within the drama team.
• Select an appropriate venue and time for performances.
• Promote the performance in advance.
• Consider recording performances on video.
Constraints of community / street drama
Some experience in drama production and acting will be required.
The drama group will require significant rehearsal time.
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Community / Street Drama
Real life story
Conflict Theatre in Your Village!
Kachahari Theatre is a kind of interactive drama where the audience themselves direct a
performance about their own lives. In the Nepali language, the word “Kachahari” means a
village gathering or a place to seek justice. It refers to a traditional kind of people’s court
where villagers gather to hear and resolve conflicts in their own community. Kachahari theatre
attempts to create this kind of forum using drama. The first half of a play is presented by a
group of actors.
Based on this reality, they put together
the first few scenes of a play. The
scenes incorporate aspects of daily life
in the village in which the audience
lives, and uses words and expressions
that the locals use. The play builds up
to a dispute that represents the social
conflict in which local people are
caught. A vigorous discussion takes
place when the audience is asked to
suggest answers to the conflict, and
the actors show the suggestions on the
spot. Various ideas are tried out and
their consequences shown. In some instances members of the audience come into the play
and act out their own ideas. The stage seems to provide a place that is safe to try out ideas.
Consciously or subconsciously the audience knows that the play is really about themselves,
but the world of drama creates a space where one’s imagination can be seen acted out.
Real Life story by kind permission of MS Nepal
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They go to a village ahead of the performance, observe and ask the locals questions about
their lives and the kind of conflicts with which they are confronted. In this case the actors are
people from the local communities that have learned some basic acting skills. They already
know the broad basis of the conflicts, but through informal discussions with people they learn
how such conflicts are seen and experienced locally.
Community / Street Drama
The Schumacher Centre
Rugby, Warwickshire, CV23 9QZ
Tel: +44 (0)1926 634400
Fax: +44 (0)1926 634401
This document is based on the Micro Media Card Pack: A Tool Kit for Community
Development Workers produced by Practical Action in October 2003. Reproduced
as a Technical Brief in September 2007.
Practical Action is a development charity with a difference. We know the simplest ideas can have the
most profound, life-changing effect on poor people across the world. For over 40 years, we have been
working closely with some of the world’s poorest people - using simple technology to fight poverty and
transform their lives for the better. We currently work in 15 countries in Africa, South Asia and Latin