In February 2018, Theatre for a Change traveled to Pokhara, Nepal and trained a group of 20 youth leaders from Dhading, Lamjung, Parsa and Surkhet Districts. The training focused on how to use Interactive Theatre for Justice to change social attitudes and norms around child marriage and girls’ education.

The objectives of the training were:

  • To deepen the group’s understanding of gender rights and justice in the context of Nepali society
  • To build the group’s capacity to devise and perform Interactive Theatre for Justice stories based on their own experiences related to gender injustice
  • To develop the group’s ability to facilitate Interactive Touch Tag, a process where local authorities and power holders are invited to intervene in the story and show what they could do differently – in their positions of power – to create pathways to justice for vulnerable groups

The youth leaders are now implementing Interactive Theatre for Justice in their communities. The performances are being attended by a wide range of power holders including chiefs of police, head teachers, mayors and district council members.

So far the following results have been achieved:

  • Headteachers are reporting a reduction of child marriage and increase of girls enrolling in school
  • Mayors have committed to increase spending on girls’ education and child marriage prevention campaigns
  • Police are actively encouraging communities to report child marriage before and after they happen

In November 2019, we returned to Nepal and trained a new group of 20 facilitators in Kathmandu. This training focused on using Interactive Theatre for Justice to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence.

The performances are being designed to encourage survivors to report abuse, and to reduce the stigma and discrimination that is often associated with being a survivor in Nepali society. The group is now performing in Siraha and Sarlahi Districts.

These trainings were delivered in partnership with Voluntary Service Overseas.

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I could really feel the performance. Before I had little knowledge of child marriage, but seeing the performance gave me more knowledge, and the realisation that from now on, I can spread the message amongst my relatives and friends that child marriage is wrong.

Devi, Audience Member