Role of Chidrens Theatre

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MIDLANDS STATE UNIVERSITY
FACULTY OF ARTS DEPARTMENT : FILM AND THEATRE ARTS
NAMES : Darlington Kamanga
: Tatenda Jekenya
: Nerisa Msichili
: Owen Moyo
: Sibanengi Masunda
: Makhosana Nyoni
LEVEL : 1.1
MODE OF ENTRY : Parallel and Conventional
MODULE NAME : GENRES OF FILM AND THEATRE
MODULE CODE : HFTA 104
LECTURER : MC Gwarinda
QUESTION : The role of children`s theatre

Children’s theatre refers to the plays performed by children for children encompassing issues affecting them. Children`s theatre include games, songs, dance, folklore and poetry that children partake in every day. In many African societies, children are not directly targeted when designing developmental objectives. It is usually assumed that the benefit of intervention will naturally trickle down to the children for the household, family or parents. This erroneous impression leads to the exclusion of vital inputs that should from the bedrock of a child’s education. However, with children’s theatre and theatre for children, young people are able to familiarize themselves with ideas and notions dealing with diverse aspects of life that bring sundry learning environment in a practical fashion, through which the child becomes familiar with different concepts of life and living. This is what Zimbabwean theatre for young people strives to achieve through CHIPAWO (children’s performing arts workshops) and the Nigerian TCP (the theatre company of peekskill) and others in the same tradition. This is seen in theatrical acts from children`s theatre groups like CHIPAWO from Zimbabwe and PHAKAMA from South Africa. The different perspectives on children’s theatre are determined by the extent to which it is ‘participatory’ – that is, the degree to which it involves children. At the very least, children can be mere spectators; at the most they can be performers. This is evident in the three broad categories of children’s theatre: (i) Theatre for children and young people; (ii) Theatre with children and young people; (iii) Theatre by children and young people. The characteristic features of African children’s theatre are different from those of children’s theatre as practiced in the western world. This is largely due to differences in cultural environment as well as perception. Also, the historical development of children’s theatre in Europe and Africa has followed dissimilar paths, although both European and African theatre have their origins in ritual and ceremony associated with religion. In fact, the origins of drama all over the world are associated with, or traceable to, the worship of some form of supernatural being. It was the interaction between the myths, rituals and ceremonies of religion that led to the development of theatre. CHIPAWO helps to ensure that our children know and appreciate our own culture. Prior to the dawn of colonialism and western civilization in Africa, African children were exposed to ritual, narrative and ceremonial drama, which were part of the social fabric of African society. Children and youth were also involved in games, many of which involved enactment; they also sang songs and performed dances, some of which were in the form of dance drama. Narrative drama was an art perfected by skilled storytellers whose dramatized stories served the purpose of inculcating traditional norms and practices to the children this is mirrored in the play. The use of traditional dance “mbakumba” accompanied by African instruments like the drum and mbira help in educating children about their cultural practices and making them appreciate their cultures more. Chilala goes on to argue that African has strong roots that cannot be up rooted in...
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