Nov 2012 06

Lights, Camera, (almost) Action! GRG groups prepare for community theatre performance

Posted in Featured, News

By Opio Francis and Christopher Maclay

Earlier this year, GRG embarked on a partnership with the Justice and Reconciliation Project (JRP) to pilot an innovative community theatre approach which supports groups to explore problems faced in their communities, and to explore methods for reconciliation.


The pilot, currently running with two groups – Anga Konya (meaning ‘Who will help me’) in Labigiriang and Atoo Pi Iya (meaning ‘I will die for my stomach’) in Ayuu Alali, both in Lamwo Districts – has been underway for almost 6 months now. Group facilitators were trained by JRP, and have since run sessions with their respective groups to discuss shared problems, and to examine how to present and discuss these issues using theatre. This process builds up to one big community event, to engage the rest of the community in this dialogue. This month, GRG and JRP spent a few days with the groups to see their progress.


Above: Isaac from JRP providing feedback to the Anga Konya in Labigiriang.

GRG and JRP was very excited to see the progress of the groups, and their enthusiasm for the process. As one member from Ayuu Alali explained, “The project has helped me erase fears from the past through reflecting and learning from the challenges put forth by the 21 year war in northern Uganda.”

During our visit, groups presented short plays, which they were expanding for the final community performances. Both groups decided that land conflict was the most pressing current issue, and told different stories to explain how this arose, and how to solve it.

Above: Members of Atoo Pi Iya finish their play with a song summarising the main messages from their story.

In Labigiriang, for example, members told a story about land conflict arising from the return process, where community members lost track of their boundaries on return to their ancestral land. This brought about fights and hatred among the returnees. As it is the tradition that clan elders mediate in such conflict, they sought for help from the elders (rwot and his council) which later on brought reconciliation between the conflicting members of the community.


Above: Members of Anga Konya in Labigiriang, ready with props, acting out a land conflict.

At the end of the performances, groups were guided by JRP and GRG on how to improve their performance for the big day, including stage management, storytelling, character definition, and detailed explanations of the conflicts.

Both groups will be putting on a show at the Sub-county Headquarters of Palabek Kal on 8th November, with guests from local government, traditional cultural institutions, and hundreds of community members. In the meantime, the groups will be practicing hard, and sourcing props and costumes. We will report back from the final performance!

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