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Saturday, October 25, 2008


Wits University Hosts Africa Research Conference in Applied Drama and Theatre

The Division of Dramatic Art, Wits School of Arts in collaboration with Drama for Life announces the initial Africa Research Conference in Applied Drama and Theatre on the 7th – 9th November 2008 at the Wits Theatre Complex in Braamfontein.

Applied Theatre and Drama has gained currency as a viable interventionary tool, one which ‘has come of age’ particularly in the context of education and development. Its role as a key tool in contexts that are community, education and development orientated is to some extent due to the fact that it can deal with difficult subject matter in a way that is culturally appropriate and context sensitive. It also offers a platform for the voices of communities and provides a public and non-intrusive vehicle to communicate information, while not depending on a highly literate or resource-rich audience.

This conference will bring together academics and practitioners working with Applied Drama and Theatre in Africa to engage with some of the challenges, changes and best practices of this mode of engagement. These include the importance of ethics, values and principles that guide practitioners as well as the growing emphasis on effective monitoring evaluation of projects. Three themes have been identified as being of particular concern to practitioners and researchers at this time in the development of a distinctive African approach to Applied Drama when the paradigm of Practice as Research is still being determined. These themes are:

1. What constitutes 'best practice' research approaches in applied drama and theatre work?

2. What ethical positions, values and principles could be most appropriate in guiding practitioners, participants, researchers and other stakeholders in applied drama and theatre practice?

3. What monitoring and evaluation methods/techniques are best suited to assessing the value and impact of applied drama and theatre projects in African contexts?

Some of the key international and local experts in the field who will be attending the conference will include, among others, John O’Toole from Australia, Christopher Odhiambo from Kenya and Phil Jones from the United Kingdom.

All interested drama practitioners and researchers are invited to attend and contribute to the conference and/or festival. For more information please go to our website at

The conference follows on from an initial Drama for Life Workshop Festival which will be running from November 3 to 6 (more information at or contact Ella Bella on