Theatre for Development (TfD): Historical and Institutional Perspectives

Department of Drama & Film Studies, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria
ERC project "Developing Theatre: Building Expert Networks for Theatre in Emerging Countries after 1945"; Department of Drama and Film Studies, Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria
16.03.2020 - 20.03.2020
Nic Leonhardt

In March 2020, the ERC funded project "Developing Theatre: Building Expert Networks for Theatre in Emerging Countries after 1945" at LMU Munich will be organizing an international conference in collaboration with Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria, South Africa on the topic Theatre for Development (TfD): Historical and Institutional Perspectives.
The thrust of the conference will be to contextualize the emergence of TfD, especially in the first decades in Africa. From its early beginnings in the 1970s under different nomenclatures and practices –such as “popular theatre”, or “community theatre” – TfD quickly transformed itself into a coherent organizational field capable of attracting significant governmental and NGO funding. It also affected a change in the teaching and practice of theatre studies in many African countries. The argument could be made that the success of TfD in the Global South has contributed significantly to the emergence of Applied Theatre as a sub discipline in many Global North countries.
This conference seeks to explore the genealogy, the varied contexts of its development, theories and institutional perspectives. Key issues the conference will interrogate include the varied manifestations of the genre and its influence across cultures and continents; funding (Governmental and NGOs), networks of individuals and institutions that propelled its rapid growth and acceptance within academic and non-academic contexts.
We welcome contributions which engage with and provoke dialogue about the historiography of the Theatre for Development paradigm. Topics might include, but are not limited to the following:
- Historiography and Archiving of Theatre for Development
- Periodization and diffusion
- Seminal figures and initiators
- The dialectics of Africa’s development and Theatre for Development
- Integrating (new) media into TfD
- The politics of funding (governmental and NGOs) and influence on TfD
- Theories, Training and TfD Practitioners
- Theatre for Development within and outside the academia
- Networks, institutions and organizations
- Critical reflections within the field
- Brecht, Freire, Boal and the emergence of TfD

Deadline for paper proposals (abstract & short biographical note): 30th May 2019
please reply to:
Abdul Karim Hakib, Doctoral ResearcherERC Project „Developing Theatre“, Institut für Theaterwissenschaft, LMU München


Karim Hakib
LMU Munich, Theatre Studies, Georgenstrasse 11, 80799 Munich, Germany

Theatre for Development (TfD): Historical and Institutional Perspectives, 16.03.2020 – 20.03.2020 Pretoria, in: H-Soz-Kult, 15.05.2019, <>.
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