The status of children’s theatre in Nairobi
Kabui, Elizabeth Watetu
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The overall objective of the research was to establish the status of children's theatre as an art form in Nairobi. The study reveals the forms in which children's theatre in Nairobi is manifested and critically examines the plot, characters, theme and style of plays perform ed for child audiences to determine whether they are suitable for them. Previous research has put more emphasis on the analysis of adult theatre hence the endeavour to open up the field of children's theatre in this study. The main assumption is that the value of children's theatre as a tool for education and entertainment has not been appreciated by artists in Nairobi. Data for the study was obtained through observation of plays performed for children and by children, questionnaires to primary school children from within Nairobi, interviews with theatre artists and through library research. Chief among the findings is that although children, through their participation in dramatic play reveal that they would enjoy theatre, only 1 out of 5 theatre groups in Nairobi perform plays for children, and this being only on festive seasons such as Christmas time. Thus much of what children are exposed to as theatre is not suitable for them in terms of plot, characters, theme and style. I have therefore made some recommendations on how to make children's theatre more relevant to the children.