Theater for Peace: Reflections on the Amani People´s Theater Model

Okech Awino, Michael Owiso

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


A growing recognition and application of arts approaches within the peace-building industry is being registered in the recent past. While this is the case, arts approaches have received little or no attention within academic literature on peace-building. Coupled with this, arts approaches only appear as an afterthought in the strategic documents of most actors in the general construct of peace-building. This can perhaps be explained by the absence of available systematic analyses on the contribution of arts approaches to peace-building by practitioners and academics alike on their capacities to respond to questions regarding; their ability to repair social infrastructure, their ability to promise non-recurrence, promotion of local ownership, commitments towards future peace, the attainment of social justice as well as the holistic emancipation of individuals, communities and society in general. This chapter seeks to address the efficacy of arts approaches in pursuing social justice with individuals, communities and society in general. This is as opposed to the legal, administrative and political justice notions of peace-building as applied by the mainstream view of the practice. It discusses the conception of peace-building from the works of Johan Galtung, Paul Laderach and other scholars in order to bring into focus the concept of peace-building from below. It then examines literature on the Theater for Development (TFD) method and analyzes the ´power´ of theater in transforming societies. Arts approaches, as utilized by Amani People´s Theater (APT) in Kenya are traced to provide the practicum perspective. APT is an organization that employs multi-arts approaches to peacebuilding since 1994. The organization implemented an intervention dubbed ``Building Sustainable Structures for Peace`` from 2007-2010 in the Rift Valley in Kenya. The chapter concludes analyzing the project in terms of the nature of the intervention, the successes and challenges as well as impact. This is done in relation to the peace-building discourse.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOutliers in Peacebuilding
EditorsFunmi Olonisakin
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019

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    Awino, O., & Owiso, M. (Accepted/In press). Theater for Peace: Reflections on the Amani People´s Theater Model. In F. Olonisakin (Ed.), Outliers in Peacebuilding Routeledge.