The State of Theatre for Development in Tanzania

Daines Nicodem Sanga

University of Dar es Salaam



Theatre for Development (TfD) is a developmental device that employs local forms (such as dance, songs, heroic recitation, among others) to empower local communities to discover, analyse and resolve their own problems in order to better their lives. Although TfD is appreciated for its ability to involve people at the grassroots level to resolve their own problems, it is perplexing that as time goes by the practice is increasingly fading out, not just in local communities but also at the University of Dar es Salaam where the practice began as travelling theatre and later developed into TfD. Unlike now where new students do not understand what TfD means, between 2002 and 2010, for example, the meaning of it was comprehensible as varieties of TfD practices took place within the University and without in a way that made it easier for individuals to get a sense of it. Although the trend indicates that TfD practice is in decline, little is known in regards to the factors ushering its decline. Most studies associate the decline of TfD with a lack of interest on the part of donors to sponsor the practice. This current study intends to explore other factors obstructing the growth TfD.

Daines Nicodem Sanga is a lecturer in the Department of Creative arts specializing in theatre arts at the University of Dar es Salaam.