chapter  4
20 Pages

Social reconciliation and community integration through theater

ByBARBARA HATLEY

Introduction: theater and reconciliation Theater is widely recognized internationally as a powerful medium for education and social transformation. In the first instance theater performances attract and engage viewers as sites of enjoyment and entertainment. By involving the emotions and senses they provide experiential “learning by doing … more usable and readily accessible than other kinds of learning” (Soule 1998: 41). Through theater’s “mirroring effect” audiences identify with stage action, while its “aesthetic distance” allows them to continue to observe and analyze (Scheff 1979: 57). Legendary pioneer of socially engaged theater, Augusto Boal, argues that the “aesthetic space” of theater facilitates both awareness and transformation.