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Problems in the growth of a popular art form : the relationship between drama and society in Malawi and Zambia

Kamlongera, Christopher Fadeson (1984) Problems in the growth of a popular art form : the relationship between drama and society in Malawi and Zambia. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This thesis discusses theatre in Malawi and Zambia today. The discussion is done through an historical exposition of the forces behind its growth in the two countries. Until 196^ these two countries were British protectorates. It also seeks to show what sort of relationship exists between this theatre and societies in which it is growing. In order fully to appreciate this relationship the thesis isolates for study special areas which directly deal with the operations of theatre in the two countries.This is done in the belief that true appreciation of a country's theatre cannot be grasped through a study of its playwrights and plays alone,but also through that of cultural policies of governments and their implementation,censorship procedures(whether direct or indirect),operations of companies,and radio and television networks. The thesis is divided into two parts.The first part is of a general nature. It consists of three chapters. The first chapter argues that there is an indigenous kind of theatre in Malawi and Zambia. The second chapter discusses the growth of African drama in general into the modern era. This has been done in, two parts: the colonial era and the post-independence period. Contrary to common belief African 'literary' drama has not come about as a result of political independence - although it has matured extensively since 'independence1. Efforts to promote drama, in the western sense, amongst Africans can be traced as far back as the 1930's. There is also evidence of a direct link, between the British Drama League and these early efforts.The third chapter looks at what is called theatre for development. This is a theatre which is becoming very popular all over Africa. Its presence marks a new departure from the established 'literary drama'. But it is not a new phenomenon on the continent.The chapter shows how this work is derived from earlier work of missionaries and colonial administrators. Further than this the chapter describes this theatre. It traces its origins and development to the present. Then it dwells on the rationale for its resurgence and its nature. The second part of the thesis takes a detailed look at theatre in Malawi and Zambia. This is done in six chapters.These examine the following: major influences on theatre of the two countries (i.e. cultural policies,censorship and education); examples of indigenous drama; an example of syncretic drama; play scripts which form the literary drama; popular drama of radio and television; and examples of theatre for development. The picture that emerges at the end of this examination points to a development that might produce unique theatre in Africa. This is a theatre which is becoming less and less dependent on the playwright as its source of inspiration. Most of the discussion in this thesis has been built on reviews, historical sources, interviews, field research, statements made by practitioners from the area and theses by other people. My own involvement in Malawian theatre activity can be discerned from the passionate way some of the sections of the thesis have been argued.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of English (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.646977
Depositing User: Digitisation Studio Leeds
Date Deposited: 05 May 2015 11:04
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2015 13:48
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8885

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