Interpreting Theatre As A Communication Medium

Project and Seminar Material for English Language

Interpreting Theatre As A Communication Medium


Communication as a social tool includes a wide range of functions such as instruction, persuasion, education, entertainment, development and so on. Over the ages, all the communication mediums have evolved themselves to accommodate the various functions of communication and this is true of the theatre as well. This paper is a humble endeavour towards interpreting the theatre as a communication medium that can significantly contribute towards ably performing the various communication functions. It also seeks to deliberate upon the need for approaching the study of communication in the Indian perspective drawing comparisons between Aristotle’s Poetics and Rhetoric and Bharata’s Nātyasāstra.

Key Words: Theatre, Communication, Nātyasāstra, Poetics, Rhetoric

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Theatre is not just another genre, it is one amongst many. It is the only genre in which today and every day, now and always; living human beings address and speak to other human beings. Because of that; theatre is more than just a performance of stories and tales, it is a place for human encounter, a space for authentic human existence. It can also be seen as a building where a live performance takes place such as a play or dance or a place where people gather to watch performances for relaxation.

Theatre can be seen as a variety of art forms showcased in and outside the building and is seen as activities that man engages in. It is a conscious activity of man sometimes used to relate to specific activities of man with certain features of performance and worship. Theatre is used to denote specific conscious activities (design activities). It is an art which encapsulate varieties of art form which entertains, communicate, educate and enlightens. It shows the relationship between humans and the society, man tries to penetrate the deep mystery of life and consciously develops theatre in order to correct what is wrong, which makes man a gregarious animal.

The word theatre is also originally Greek, where the term is used to mean a seeing place. The theatre is therefore a place where we go to watch and participate in a kind of Fantasylife or imaginary life or world of elusion or world of make believe. In other words, it is a place where we go to eave-drop into the life of other people. Theatre is also used to refer to events such as play performances which are organized for the viewing delight of the audience, as well as its use to refer to ritual, ceremonies and festivals. The purpose of which may be or not be the delight of anybody or audience.

Theatre generally is that genre that gives room for participation and not just watching and hearing audience in a building or an open space, using this theatre as a tool to communicate and educate and not just to entertain is another exciting phase of the theatre among it numerous facets and aspects. It is very interesting to know that theatre can serve as a tool for communicating important life issues in our society. We should also understand that theatre is a mirror unto the society, because plays, performances, dances, storytelling, folklores are part of the human activities in the society.

1.2 Theatre as a Tool for Communication

Participatory Performances

In usual performances there are actors on stage and spectators who watch the play with usual plays it is meant the Eurocentric way that was long seen as the right way to do theatre all over the world, especially by the former European rulers of colonized countries. For instance in African or Asian countries different forms of theatre were and still are very common in the sense of bringing information to the people in an oral way. Thus, different theatre traditions developed worldwide and re-lived in colonized countries after independence, whilst in rural areas they were even common during colonization. By now those times are over, and development communication became emergent as an important discourse, thus it seems perfect to make up still living traditions through participative theatre methods.

First of all it is very important for actors and organizers of performance or TFD –project to get to know the society and the problem people face, therefore the play that is performed and worked has to be developed with local people, who know cultural behaviors and social problems of the society.

Theatre for Development:

This means live performance or theatre used as a development tool as in the case of projects of international development agencies. TFD encompasses the following in-person activities, with people before an audience: a spoken word drama or comedy, a music, singing and or dance production, participatory or improvisational techniques using any or all these. Theatre for development can also be defined as a progression from less interactive theatre forms to a more dialogical process, where theater is practiced with the people or by the people as a way of empowering communities, listening to their concerns, and then encouraging them to voice an solve their own problems.

Forum Theatre:

In theatre for development (TFD), the performance is mostly played on a community or gathering place, but randomly on stage. In forum theatre the scene acted out shows one or even more problems the audience faces in their daily routine. Afterwards forum theatre is explained to the audience by another person of the team and the scene will be shown again, up to a number of times, someone from the audience can stop the play wherever he or she thinks it’s suitable and come into the scene. Spectators become “SPEC-ACTORS”. Through the parts of the scene participating people dive into the situation performed, that makes the whole topic feel more real for the person who came into change the situation, this is an alternative way of problem solving, where creativity is asked for and different approaches are tried.

Street Theater:

Methods “invisible theater” or “image theatre” can be acted in the streets, seen by people passing by. Invisible theatre seems like a real situation to the audience, which mainly functions as a thought-provoking impulse to the people who observe the situation. Invisible theatre in the streets reaches people who would not attend a workshop or watch a play, thus the coverage of addressed people can be even higher and social change is another step closer. Theatre and drama is an effective tool to raise awareness and advocate for people to be involved (this can be logically linked to hand washing awareness).

Hand washing is one of the easiest and simplest practices to personal hygiene, but yet it is a neglected practice in Nigeria. It is a shared knowledge that most people do not consider hand washing as an important aspect of their healthy living, and for that, do not pay much attention to it. Hygiene is a set of practices performed for the preservation of health. According to the World Health Organization (W.H.O) hygiene refers to conditions and practice that helps to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases, whereas in popular culture and parlance it can often mean mere “cleanliness” hygiene in its fullest and original meaning goes much beyond that to include all circumstances and practices, lifestyle issues, premises and commodities that engender a safe and healthy environment while in modern medical science standard of hygiene recommended for different situations, what is considered hygienic or not vary between different cultures, gender and ethnic groups. Some regular hygiene practice may be considered good habits by a society while the neglect of hygiene can be considered disgusting, disrespectful or even threatening. Washing one’s hands, a form of hygiene is one of the most effective way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

Hygiene is a concept related to cleanliness, health and medicine as well as to personal, professional care practices relating to most aspect of living, in medicine and in home (domestic) and everyday life settings. Hygiene practices are employed as preventive measures to reduce the incidence and spread of a disease.

Everyone has germs; our bodies are covered with germs that help us stay healthy. In addition to the germs that are usually on our skin, we also pick up germs from contact with other people or objects in our surroundings. In this way, they can cause you, or others, to get sick. Although people usually think that germs are spread through the air, but a reality is that germs are most easily spread through hand contact. One of the best ways to stop the spread of germs is to wash or decontaminate your hands; hand hygiene is a new term to describe washing or decontaminating our hands.

Washing hands helps to physically remove germs by friction, and to “rinse them down the drain”. Decontaminating hands reduces the amount of germs present on hands through the use of special alcohol based preparations, in the form of solution gels or foams, alcohol based preparation have two distinct advantages over soap and water.

They kill many more germs

They cause less dryness to your skin

However, while alcohol based preparations reduce the germs on your hands, they cannot remove visible soil to contamination. It is always important to wash hands with soap and water any time they are visibly dirty.

When To Wash Hands With Water And Soap

Adults and children should wash their hands

When hands are visibly dirty

  • Before you eat
  • Before you prepare food items
  • After touching raw meat like chicken or beef.
  • After contact with anybody fluids like blood, urine or vomit
  • After changing infant or adult nappies
  • After blowing your noise or sneezing.
  • After touching animals or pets
  • After going to the toilet
  • For routine cleaning of hands anytime they are visibly dirty
  • If you have contact with contaminated objects in the environment e.g dirty tissues/nappies, trash bins.
  • Before and after you care for or have contact with someone who is very sick, very old or very young.
Importance Of Hand Washing And Hand Hygiene

Hand washing is the best way to avoid flu and other viruses (professor John Oxford, of London” Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Virus) He went further to postulate that;

  • Up to half of all men and a quarter of women fail to wash their hands after they have been to the toilet.
  • We have between two (2) and Ten (10) million bacteria between fingertip and elbow.
  • The number of germs on your finger tips doubles after you use the toilet.
  • Germs can stay alive on hands for up to three hours.

Raising awareness about hand washing to help reduce the spread of germs is extremely important, the sooner children get into the habit of washing their hands regularly, the better.

The promotion of this important health issue will encourage children to make hand washing part of their everyday routine; it also helps children to understand the importance of hand washing. Children need to understand why it is important to wash their hands, and to do this they need help from their parents, their guardian or their teachers.

The purpose of this research is to support those roles and provide practical advice so that children introduce the simple practice of hand washing into everyday live.

Encouraging children from an early age to wash their hands will help to ensure that this practice becomes a lifelong habit.

Importance Of Frequent Hand Washing

Frequent hand washing is one of the single most important things we can do to help to reduce the spread of infections and prevent ill health. For example, good hand hygiene in children will help prevent the spread of common communicable infections such as colds, and tummy bugs, getting this message out to children will also help to influence their hand washing practices at home as well as at school and everywhere they find themselves and even at playgrounds and at sports.

1.3 Statement Of Research Problem

Even though traditional mediums have tried to address the issue of hand washing, it has failed to reach the hearts of majority of children and the grassroots as they are cut-off from mediums like the televisions, billboards and internet and radio advertisements due to underdevelopment. Most importantly majority of individuals especially children of all classes in the society have not imbibed the habit of hand washing; therefore this important knowledge is at an unfortunate low among the populace. Using theatre as a medium to communicate this practice (hand washing) will cut-across all parts of the society and can reach the grassroots children because it is participatory and is going to reach out to the kids so that they can participate. According to Aristotle, “tell me, I will know, show me, I will not forget, show me, I will remember, involve me I will understand”.

1.4 Aim Of The Study

The aim of this research is to use theatre as a tool and medium to communicate hand washing to primary school pupils and to see how effective the theatre which encompasses drama, storytelling, songs and role play can be use to achieve this habit among the children.

1.5 Objectives Of The Study

To help children inculcate hand washing as a habit that will help enhance their personal hygiene toward healthy living and lifestyle.

Using theatre as a tool to communicate and teach children the importance of personal hygiene and the need to stay healthy and why it should be started at a young age.

To score the importance of theatre to children and how it can serve as a platform for learning and not just for entertainment.

1.6 Significance Of The Study

This research is necessary because it exposes the importance of theatre to the society especially its relevance towards teaching children and how in time past the theatre has been used to inculcate and communicate certain habits to children, this research will show how theatre as a tool can be use to communicate hand washing among children.

1.7 Scope Of The Study

The focal point of the study is how theatre can be used to achieve hand-washing habit among primary school pupils. Therefore the study would draw its population from the Ahmadu Bello University, Demonstration Primary School Zaria and selected primary school pupils would be engaged for a period of three days and their after evaluation will be done based on what they have learnt.

1.8 Limitation Of The Study

The study would be limited to ages 5-11 years old and they majorly can be found in primary 5 and 6 therefore other lower class may be limited from this exercise.

The time frame chosen to engage the pupils is a period of three days more time with the pupils would have been experimental and engaging.

Get Complete Project Material

5,000 5000

The Complete Material Will Be Sent to You in Just 2 Steps

Quick & Simple…

Step One Purchase

Make Payment (Through Transfer) of ₦5,000 to the Account Below

Zenith BankAcc No: 1225513212
Samphina Academy
Current Account

Or CLICK HERE To Pay With Debit Card

CLICK HERE To Purchase Material ($15)

Step Two Purchase

Send the Following Details on WhatsApp ( 08143831497) After Payment

  1. Payment Details

  2. TOPIC: Interpreting Theatre As A Communication Medium

The Complete Material Will Be Sent To You On WhatsApp After Receiving Your Details
T & C Apply

  Contact Our Help Desk

Need a Different Topic? Perform a Quick Search

List of Related Works

Click on Any Topic to Preview the Content

Samphina Academy

Samphina Academy is an Online Educational Resource Center that is aimed at providing students with quality information and materials to aid them in succeeding in their academic pursuit.