Human Drama, or community-led development through forum theatre, is the first joint arts for social development programme designed by the British Council and Francois-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Myanmar in 2011. Its aim is to raise awareness of and implement behavioural change in health and social issues focusing on reproductive health, HIV/ AIDS, human trafficking, gender equality, gender based violence among young people and their community members and helping them work out solutions for family, social, justice and health issues.
In communities which struggle with health and social concerns such as human trafficking, drug abuse, gender equality and domestic violence, this ‘edutainment’ programme, which is based on the theatre-for-development techniques, has proven a powerful tool for communication and awareness. Using short plays that are scripted around these issues, the performers encourage communities to actively participate and create a common ground where they can freely express opinions relating to their real life situation and determine together the best possible solution.
The project is led by a theatre troupe of 12 youth performers and two project supervisors, mentored by John Martin, artistic director of Pan Intercultural Arts (London). Over the past five years, the project has gained a strong reputation in Burma, both within the British Council and among external organisations. Alongside Francois-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Myanmar, ‘forum theatre’ has been used as a tool to enable affected communities across Myanmar to engage in critical discussion on over thirty social issue and the troupe has developed a methodology for social transformation using Forum Theatre, Creativity and Social Research methods.
To date the troupe has performed to over 380 communities, reaching more than 48,000 community members from Yangon, Mandalay, Tanintharyi and Delta Regions, Kachin, and Mon Karen States. They have also conducted 13 TOT trainings to 299 social and community activists from Mon and Karen States and Yangon. Beneficiaries worked on anti-human trafficking campaigns with World Vision, MTV EXIT, UNIAP and Karen Development Network (KDN).
In 2015 and 2016 the theatre troupe brought their performances into IDP Camps in Kachin State for the first time followed by 60 more plays in rural communities in Mon State and deprived townships in Yangon.
Our funding partners are Sone Sie and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Embassy of Switzerland.
The project has the support from government ministries, NGOs and INGOs, UN agencies and CBOs, including Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA), Department of Social Welfare, Department of Health, World Vision, Save the Children, Myanmar Medical Council, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), MTV EXIT, UNIAP, ILO, NLD, BABSEACLE, Justice Centres, MLaw, Legal Clinic Myanmar, Akhaya Women, 88 Generation Peace and Open Society, and Karen Development Network (KDN).
The British Council and partners believe in the arts as an effective tool to promote positive social change across a range of pressing community issues. We are committed to exploring and developing further collaborations in arts and development.