Magnet Theatre Project
By working within communities in Siaya County, the Magnet Theatre Project was envisaged to bring together young people to access and contribute to the dialogue about HIV, sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) and to demand instigation and utilisation of the services related to HIV/SRHR.
Theatre is a highly effective means of effectively mobilising and teaching large groups of people in a short period of time.
Young people are able to make informed choices when they are provided with the right information, in the right way and at the right time, and there is no better way than through theatre.
Magnet Theatre is a form of community theatre that typically takes place in outdoor, public spaces
Its intervention is designed to entertain, educate and involve audience members in the action, encouraging the kind of participation and reflection that is key to sustained behaviour change.
The hour-long performances explore issues affecting a community and encourage discussion and problem solving with audience members. The actors perform a drama that presents a dilemma based on community issues. The audience participates by offering suggestions to the characters or by taking the place of an actor and acting out solutions to the dilemma.
Magnet Theatre encourages audience members to discuss solutions and allows them to experiment in a safe environment, to encourage individual and community-wide change.
Magnet Theatre is different from other forms of community theatre because it targets and attracts a specific and repeat audience, takes place at a regular time at a specific venue, and serves as a forum for magnification of behaviour change.
Magnet Theatre has produced some of Mildmay Kenya’s most visible examples of behaviour change.
More to be done:
The “KAA RADA KUWA SMARTTA” programme (an urban dialect expression meaning be careful, be wise) is an educational theatre project targeting Kenyan young people in Siaya County.
The project uses performances and community theatre to raise awareness and understanding of sex, sexuality and HIV by retelling the true stories of young people. Through this engagement, we help children, young people, and their families to access HIV testing, treatment and sexual health services. The performances will promote diversity, compassion and understanding, and encourage networking between young people to advocate for better HIV and SRHR in their area.
Through theatre, we want to inspire young people to take action and speak up about barriers to HIV prevention, care and treatment in Siaya county.
During the project period, we reached over 16,000 young people with HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights information and services through the integrated community outreaches.
Several activities were arranged during outreach to saturate the young people with as much information as possible as well as ensure that they were linked to the services based on need.