n African Performance Review - Emerging paradigms for applied drama and theatre practice in African contexts

Volume 2, Issue 2_3
  • ISSN : 1753-5964


Helen Nicholson (2005) aptly describes applied drama and theatre as a gift. Notwithstanding the contestable meanings that may be attached to the metaphor of a gift such as dependency, patronage and surveillance, Nicholson argues that the practice of making theatre in community settings creates spaces that enable participants' voices to be heard. Such practice goes beyond mere 'giving' and 'receiving' to embrace notions of emotional pleasure, empathic dialogue and mutual exchange. The gift givers, such as donors or practitioners, put themselves in the recipients' place and imagine not only what they (recipients) would like but also listen to what they would like to receive. More specifically, it is in the artfulness of giving and receiving during the process of interactive communication that applied drama and theatre acquire special significance. The desire and capacity to identify with the lives of others through the drama and theatre making process constitutes the experience of the gift.

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