1st Edition

Applied Theatre and the Sustainable Development Goals Crises, Collaboration, and Beyond

Edited By Taiwo Afolabi, Abdul Karim Hakib, Bobby Smith Copyright 2025
    280 Pages 31 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    280 Pages 31 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book is the first definitive publication to consider the intersections of applied theatre and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a series of goals which have shaped development and social justice initiatives from 2015-2030.

     It brings together emerging and leading scholars and practitioners engaged in creative and community contexts globally. In so doing, the book offers critical insights to explore the convergences, complexities, and tensions of working within development frameworks, through theatre.  Divided into three thematic areas, it maps out the ways in which applied theatre has related to the SDGs, examines issues with global collaborations and, as 2030 approaches and the SDG era draws to a close, interrogates such practices, envisioning what the role of applied theatre might be in the post-SDG era. The book provokes reflection about this specific era of applied theatre and global development, as well as discussion regarding what comes next.

    This volume will be of importance to students, artists, scholars, practitioners, and policymakers working in applied theatre, and the field of development.


    About the authors



    Taiwo Afolabi, Abdul Karim Hakib and Bobby Smith


    1.                   Applied Theatre and Sustainable Development
    Taiwo Afolabi, Abdul Karim Hakib and Bobby Smith


    Part One – Applying Theatre in Times of Global Crises


    An Introduction – Abdul Karim Hakib


    2.                   New Democratic Designs and World Making:  The Theatrical Public Sphere and the Struggle for the New Constitution in Zimbabwe -  Access to Justice and Accountable Institutions for All

    Vibeke Glørstad and Kelvin Chikonzo

    3.                   Applying Theatre for Development in Conflict: The Case of Jol/Ropp Communities in Plateau State, Nigeria

    Millicent Ahupa

    4.                   Nature, Art & Habitat Residency for the Body Performing
    Lucinda Coleman and Ilaria Mazzoleni


    Part Two – Collaboration across Geographies: Tensions and Complexities


    An Introduction – Bobby Smith


    5.                   Global North and Global South Collaboration in Training to Achieve ‘Good Health and Wellbeing’: a Case Study of Theatre for Development in Kisumu County, Kenya
    Matthew Elliott and CJ Odhiambo

    6.                   Linguistically Sustainable Multilingual Interactions in Monolingual Institutions

    Claire French and Sibusiso Mkhize

    7.                   Working Against Myopic Vulnerabilisation: HEXlappies and Kind Practices

    Katharine Low with Katrina Mokwena, Nicky Nyanga and Erica Luttich


    Part Three – Envisioning the Future: Looking Back to Look Ahead


    An Introduction – Taiwo Afolabi


    8.                   ResistancesInside the Neoliberal Model: Education and Prison in Chile
    Penelope Glass and Viviana Soto Aranda

    9.                   Applied Puppetry and Health Action
    Matt Smith

    10.               A Search for Cognitive Justice: A Tale Told in Three Acts
    Selina Busby





    Taiwo Afolabi is the Canada Research Chair in Socially Engaged Theatre, the Director of the Centre for Socially Engaged Theatre, and an Associate Professor at the University of Regina, Canada.


    Dr Abdul Kakim Hakib is a lecturer at the University of Ghana. His research focuses on Historicizing Theatre for Development (TfD).


    Bobby Smith is an Associate Professor of Theatre and Performance at the University of Warwick, UK.