Magnet Theatre for Health Research Experiences of using drama for stimulating dialogue amongst Kenyan public
Noni Mumba – KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme. Kenya
Hassan Alphan – KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme Kenya
Johnson Masha – KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme
Salim Mwalukore – KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme Kenya
Mary Mwangoma – KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme Kenya
Ethics guidelines recommend community consultation and involvement as important steps in enhancing interaction between researchers and host communities. Through engagement, researchers and communities can share and learn about each other’s experiences and create a conducive environment in which research activities thrive and provide health benefits to all.
The KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) implemented pilot drama outreaches known as ‘Magnet Theatre’, as part of a wide range of engagement approaches, to engage publics in Kilifi with health research. Magnet Theatre (MT) has, for decades, been used as a means of stimulating debate about health behaviours that put people at risk of infection. The approach involves consecutive drama performances in a specific location over time to attract repeat audiences, whose change in attitudes and views can potentially be tracked over time.
We implemented 12 theatre outreaches in two locations, specifically targeting youth and adults. The aim was to stimulate dialogue among the public on health research. One and a half hour outreaches were conducted at the same time and venue every two weeks for a period of 6 months. The outreaches reached an approximate 1400 adults. Evaluation methods included analysis of reports, and a review workshop with 25 audience members. We found that participants enjoyed the drama, and were able to contribute to solving dilemmas potrayed. Dialogue was moderated by a trained facilitator. Audience members talked and challenged eachother on the pros and cons of research and benefits accruing from our research institution, KWTRP. Some outcomes include audience members learning about how research benefits are determined, increased understanding of the mandate of KWTRP and better understanding of research processes.
Through a short film and a PowerPoint presentation, we present how these outreaches were conducted and share findings from our monitoring and evaluation activities.
The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.