Emma Watt, 2013, Comparative Literature

This summer, I worked with REPACTED, a Magnet Theater group based in Nakuru, ­Kenya, that focuses on HIV/AIDS prevention. Magnet Theater uses performance to create a ­forum for communities to discuss health and social issues in the developing world, such as HIV/AIDS, female circumcision, and alcoholism. Magnet Theater helps ­audiences to ­analyze the factors contributing to risky health behaviors by dramatizing a ­situation in which a character needs to choose whether or not to engage in a risky behavior. The audience is asked to advise the character and the troupe facilitates the ­discussion, ­providing information and allowing the audience to analyze the issue as a ­community. My specific project was to work with REPACTED to train two youth groups from the rural Kuria West District of Kenya to perform Magnet Theater ­outreaches in their own ­communities. Together with a few other interns, I assisted actors from ­REPACTED with a three-day training workshop for these youth groups. Specifically, I ran a voice projection ­workshop to help the actors be heard in the outdoor ­marketplaces where Magnet Theater is typically performed. I also observed several outreaches each week and helped the groups to reflect on their progress.