Interdisciplinary action-research project on natural resources in central Africa

Theatre in class

Stimulating experiences with the Land Rush Theatre method ‘in the field’ inspired us to bring this experience back into the classroom environment. An Ansoms and Fiona Nziza (education for development specialist at Louvain Cooperation) have coordinated a theatre exercise in a master course on natural resource conflicts at UCL. The theatre exercise aims to interact with the theoretical background of the course and to enrich students’ socio-emotional learning skills.

This is a short video on the experience, including students’ testimonies.

 

This video is only available in french

 

Students are coached to work out a theatre sketch around a natural resource conflict in line with the Theatre of the Oppressed method (developed by Agusto Boal). In a final session, the sketches are performed in front of the other students, and serve as a reference for an in-depth discussion.

During the discussion, students in the public propose alternative options for the oppressed character, which are tested out when a student takes up the role of the oppressed to play the alternative version. It is important to mention that the purpose of the ‘replacement’ phase is not to come to easy solutions, but rather to a more complex understanding of the problem and the character of oppression, being a result of individual people’s actions but also of more systemic factors and power disequilibria. The discussion often allows students to go beyond the stereotypical categories of ‘oppressor’ and ‘oppressed’ to reflect on the broader societal dynamics within which all actors are embedded.

illustration land-rush