The thin red line
There is a fine line between entertainment and edutainment. For an industrial theatre intervention to be really successful, the practitioners need to understand the needs of the company, the workforce and the community within which the intervention must take place.
15 May 2012 12:14
During a recent intervention in Tanzania, the Learning Theatre was called upon to use all their combined skills to defuse a difficult situation that had developed in the company between expats and locals.
Making liberal use of humour, the actors (Two Tanzanians and a South African) were able to get the audience to laugh at the ridiculous situations the characters found themselves in because of ignorance of local customs, on the side of the expats, and misconceptions on the side of the locals.
Really serious and divisive issues were portrayed on stage and explained b y the characters in a light hearted and fun manner. The audiences, without exception, roared with laughter and in the discussion session afterwards the most common phrase heard was: "I didn't realise...."
Bridges were built and fences mended between the expats and the locals and a very exciting result of the intervention was that the expats committed themselves to learning Swahili in order to form a unified work force within the company.
Entertainment certainly! But entertainment with a purpose created a marvellously successful intervention that could only be classed as edutainment of the highest order.