Tfd, Tertiary Institutions and Community Development Challenges: Where Do We Go From Here?
Theatre for Development (TfD) as a process for engaging developmental issues has been employed by several Nigerian and African tertiary institutions which offer students and lecturers the opportunity to engage local communities in development issues. This helps them engage in social actions that facilitate community growth and development. However, while the paper discusses the development of TfD practice through tertiary institutions in Nigeria, it unravels the serious challenges that tertiary institutions still face in the drive to explore this process in community development. Selected case studies as documented by TfD scholars shall be examined to reveal the development goals which TfD practice has attained and the gaps that still need to be addressed. While discussing these gaps, the paper shall further examine a number of factors that must be seriously considered towards ensuring effective pathways for community development through TFD approaches. The paper recommends that innovative and creative approaches that are capable of scoring greater impacts in addressing contemporary local community challenges must be evolved, otherwise TfD projects for local communities may turn out to reflect just a routine exercise for tertiary departments in Nigeria and Africa at large.
Abel Idebe is currently a senior staff member and researcher with the department of English, Gombe State University, Gombe, North-East, Nigeria. He teaches TfD and other Theatre Arts courses of the department. He is also the departmental Drama and General Studies Coordinator.