Lebanon: Theater Strengthens Community

April 30, 2019

Lebanon: Theater Strengthens Community

An interactive performance gave kids a chance to share their learning around children’s rights in their neighborhood.

Role play is a powerful tool for learning and entertainment—sometimes for both at the same time.

That’s what residents of an underserved neighborhood in Tripoli, Lebanon, found when young people performed an interactive play highlighting children’s rights and the everyday situations that support or endanger those rights. Part of a UNICEF-funded IOCC community development project, the performance became a setting for learning and conversation about positive change in the community.

Acting out everyday situations set the scene for the audience to get involved, encouraging positive interactions among children, parents, and teachers—both on stage and in real life.

In front of over 375 parents and children from the neighborhood, the young performers acted out everyday scenes in which children encountered negative treatment. The interactive format gave audience members a chance to intervene and change the scenarios to incorporate more positive, supportive behaviors from parents, teachers, and friends.

Through the play, both performers and audience learned simple tactics for addressing issues like school attendance, drug use, and peer pressure by changing their attitudes and behavior.

The eight performers, ages 10 to 16, were members of the project’s junior development committee. Throughout the project, they attended workshops on children’s rights, positive interpersonal interaction, and communications skills. This performance was the culmination of their learning.