Theatre in Transition
Efua Prah (The Palladium Group)
Paper short abstract:
Using theatre and performance as a methodological approach, this paper outlines a theatrical drama of internalized violence created from the imagination of children living in a government-built temporary relocation camp located in Cape Town, South Africa.
Paper long abstract:
Spread over compacted, barren sand on the outskirts of rented airport land in Cape Town, is a government-built temporary relocation camp called Symphony Way Temporary Residential Area (TRA). This interminable horizon of tin is known by its residents as "Blikkiesdorp" (Tin Can Town) or "Blikkies". Some of the residents here are refugees, some are asylum seekers, some immigrants, and most are South Africans who have been evicted off public land as they wait for government subsidised housing. All have been forcibly and violently removed and all are subject to the pressures of severe economic instability. Ethnographic research conducted explored the effect of forced movement, temporary shelter, health, and food security, on children's ideas, identity, space and belonging. Through a careful structuring of four modules that ran in sequential order, each one building upon the one it had succeeded, the methodological approach served both as a creatively stimulating space for children and an ethnographic tool to study the effects of temporary relocation camps on children. The methodological approach used culminated in a seminal theatrical piece of their experience of life, as they perceived it. Their daily ingestion of life in a temporary relocation camp sprung forth from their imagination, dramatically narrating the characters, setting and circumstances that give rise to how they express and subsequently perceive their reality. The children called this play 'Neighbourhood' and reflected upon it as a descriptive performance about their daily lives.
'All the world's a stage': the social and political potentialities of theatre and performance