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Magnet Theatre. Reaching Out-of-School Youth The IMPACT Experience. Magnet Theatre. A form of community theatre that is deliberately designed to attract, address issues of and provide a forum for a specific audience to deal with its sexual and reproductive health issues.

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Magnet theatre

Magnet Theatre

Reaching Out-of-School Youth

The IMPACT Experience

Presented by Oluoch Madiang’

Magnet theatre1
Magnet Theatre

A form of community theatre that is deliberately designed to attract, address issues of and provide a forum for a specific audience to deal with its sexual and reproductive health issues.

Presented by Oluoch Madiang’

Genesis of magnet theatre
Genesis of Magnet Theatre

PATH, beginning April 2001, reviewed what was then practiced in the field and which was referred to as ‘Theatre for Development’ (TfD). Several weaknesses of this practice and process were identified.

Presented by Oluoch Madiang’

Tfd weaknesses
‘TfD’ Weaknesses

  • No standard understanding and practice of the process amongst the practitioners;

  • The tool was prescriptive, used closed ended plots and limited audience participation;

  • The practice had a ‘touch-and-go’ element and did not involve audience in issues-identification and participatory resolution;

  • It was difficult to capture target-audience participation as the audience was quite mixed;

  • Follow-up and assessing impact was difficult;

  • Sessions were unstructured, poorly timed and competed with other community activities.

Presented by Oluoch Madiang’

How is mt different from other forms of community theatre
How is MT different from other forms of community theatre?

1. It targets a specific and repeat audience;

  • It takes place at a fixed venue, and has a regular schedule;

  • It provides a forum for the magnification of healthy (risk-free) behavior.

Presented by Oluoch Madiang’

1 mt targets a specific and repeat audience
1. MT targets a SPECIFIC and REPEAT audience

  • Deliberately includes non-theatrical activities, language and mannerisms that attract, pull and hold a particular audience.

  • Each kind of audience defines the way MT will be approached. (Youth from the different areas – Western, Rift Valley, Coast - had their own characteristics)

  • MT created a conducive and attractive atmosphere for the young people to deal with their sexual relationships and HIV and AIDS.

Presented by Oluoch Madiang’

2 mt takes place at a fixed venue and has a regular schedule
2. MT takes place at a fixed venue, and has a regular schedule

  • The same audience is encouraged to attend the MT sessions repeatedly;

  • A schedule is established that is convenient to the target audience’s other activities and also one that gives them an opportunity to try out suggested healthy behaviors and then come back and share their experiences.

  • A relationship of follow-up and analyzing the efficacy of a suggested behavior develops between the troupe and the audience, and amongst the audience members themselves.

Presented by Oluoch Madiang’

3 mt provides a forum for magnifying healthy behavior
3. MT provides a forum for magnifying healthy behavior schedule

  • Gives an opportunity to other audience members to interact with their colleagues who exhibit, uphold or adopt healthy behaviors that may have been discussed in the course of the MT session.

  • Healthy Behaviors were defined as those that reduced the risk of HIV infection, discouraged stigma or promoted positive living with AIDS.

Magnifying Bingwa in Mumias

Presented by Oluoch Madiang’

Magnet theatre mt
Magnet Theatre (MT) schedule

  • It does not prescribe solutions but rather creates a forum where the audience participates fully in developing and sharing knowledge;

  • In MT, a dilemma-setting, open ended drama that resonates with the audience’s reality is the critical trigger for audience participation and interaction.

Presented by Oluoch Madiang’

Magnet theatre mt1
Magnet Theatre (MT) schedule

  • It increases the possibility of message uptake and understanding.

  • Closeness is developed that allows for easier communication.

  • It strives to break any barriers or inhibitions that may make the audience miss an opportunity for healthy behavior.

Presented by Oluoch Madiang’

The mt process
The MT Process schedule

Presented by Oluoch Madiang’


  • From its inception in 2001 to the project’s closure in 2006, 3,408 Magnet Theatre sessions were conducted, reaching 649,940 youth.

  • From 2004-2006, 430 theatre troupes and youth groups within the IMPACT project areas were trained in Magnet Theatre skills.

  • Magnet Theatre provided some of the first visible and tangible stories of change that were later magnified.

  • MT increased youths access to services by acting as a trusted link.

Presented by Oluoch Madiang’


  • Due to its ease of understanding and execution, MT was easily adopted during the scale-up that was conducted beginning 2004. Some audience members even went ahead to form their MT groups in within their communities.

  • A training curriculum, complete with guides and manuals were developed.

  • During IMPACT’s life, MT traveled to Eritrea and India, and has since been adopted in Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, DRC and Nepal.

Presented by Oluoch Madiang’

The mt trainings
The MT Trainings schedule

  • Theatre troupes: 6 - 10 days

  • Magnet Theatre facilitators: 5 days

  • Content : Magnet Theatre and HIV and AIDS Competency

  • Materials

    • Trainer’s guide for training facilitators

    • Trainer’s guide for training theatre troupes

    • Theatre Troupe How to guide

Presented by Oluoch Madiang’

Advantages of mt
Advantages of MT schedule

  • Easy to adapt to different audiences as it encourages improvisation

  • Well structured and easy to conduct within communities

  • It is not expensive

  • It is easy to sustain

  • It is FUN!

Presented by Oluoch Madiang’


  • After the scale-up in 2004, more MT sessions were held but assuring facilitation quality was a challenge;

  • Balancing the attractive nature with the critical aspect of dealing with health problems was a challenge to some groups. They enjoyed too much to think of the actual discussions;

  • Magnification of behavior dwindled with as the project wore on.

Presented by Oluoch Madiang’


  • Increase resources and opportunities for building young peoples capacities as FACILITATORS of Magnet Theatre;

  • Develop an effective Magnet Theatre Monitoring Guideline/Process;

  • Increase the knowledge of MT youth practitioners in reproductive health and HIV and AIDS content;

  • Build the independent Magnet Theatre youth groups’ capacities in running projects.

Presented by Oluoch Madiang’

Mt an award winning bcc tool
MT: An Award Winning BCC Tool schedule


AfriComNet Annual Award for

Excellence in HIV/AIDS Communication

in Africa for the

Best Folk Media Initiative.

Presented by Oluoch Madiang’

Endorsement schedule

  • “Magnet Theatre…empowers the audience, giving them a forum to discover their reality and find ways of mitigating these realities. The best communication initiatives (are) those which allow people to participate and get involved in sharing meanings, knowledge, understandings, fears and experiences.”

    Prof. Alfred E. Opubor, Secretary General, West African News-Media and Development Centre, WANAD.

Presented by Oluoch Madiang’