In its general sense, this contemporary term is used as a wide, catch all concept, which refers to a variety of activities and methods utilizing theatre processes in order to heal, change, educate, inform and otherwise empower people and thus perhaps also to change society. (See Drama in Education, Theatre for change, Theatre for development, Theatre in Education, Sociodrama, Psychodrama, and so on.)
The term itself was not in use in the 1970s and 1980s, but has today become the most common general term for the field of interactive, developmental work. To a certain extent, applied theatre would become the most important element of the South African theatre and performance paradigm in the last phase to be discussed, for after 1994 the country had to cope with massive change on all fronts and deal with the ravages caused by past and present inequities – including issues of health, social welfare and violence.
Despite not having the name, by the late 1970s the activity itself had become an important element in the practice of many theatremakers and cultural activists, and would continue to grow in importance. The variety of activities and methods utilizing theatre processes in order to try to heal, change, educate, inform and otherwise empower people and thus perhaps also to change society, included the playmaking strategies of workshopped political theatre (deriving from Brecht, Boal, et al), the principles and practices of Drama in Education (DIE) and Theatre in Education (TIE). Later, the practice would be expanded to include Psychodrama, Drama Therapy, Socio-drama, Theatre for Development and Community Theatre, and similar methodologies, as well as the more commercial fields of Live Advertising and Industrial Theatre. These schools of thought would become a core part of the university training programmes, academic and professional conferences and theatre research, particularly in the 1980s and later.
The formal use of the term gained a strong impetus in the new millenium with the founding of *** at Wits
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