Folk opera and theatre for development

Haseman, Brad (2010) Folk opera and theatre for development. [Live Performance (Play)]


The research field was intercultural theatre, specifically adapting indigenous performance forms for applied theatre purposes. The context was the rich performative traditions of Papua New Guinean cultures, which have remained largely untapped over several decades of "theatre for development" and "entertainment education". Papua New Guinean company Raun Raun Theatre developed Folk Opera from a similar concept in African theatre in the 1970s. The form incorporates elements of song, dance, ritual, chant, metaphor, music, and body adornment from traditional cultures. The form’s spectacular scope suited international touring in large theatrical venues, and the themes of emerging nationalism with which Raun Raun was concerned. The research team made three key innovations in the use of Folk Opera: adapting the form from theatres to community contexts, using the form to address issues of individual choice for health promotion, and emphasising experiential education over entertainment. Field-testing in Karkar Island showed community members gained clearer understandings of relevant health issues through participating in the folk opera form than through other educational approaches. The significance of the research was recognised by the members of the cross-cultural workshop team and the community of Karkar Island including the local Member of Parliament. The success of the Folk Opera form as an approach to sexual health promotion was recognised through the provision of AUD$74,000 funding by the National AIDS Council Secretariat of Papua New Guinea for a train-the-trainer program incorporating this innovative form of applied theatre. The research has been presented at a number of national and international conferences including the 6th International Research in Drama Education conference in 2009.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 48922
Item Type: Creative Work (Live Performance (Play))
Refereed: No
Measurements or Duration: 4 weeks
Location: From date: To date:
Papua New Guinea, Madang, Kar Kar Island
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Deposited On: 12 Jan 2015 05:29
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2015 02:32

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