Street theatre – ushers a way towards social awareness

The theatre was created to tell people the truth about life and the social situation

-Stella Adler

Street theatre as a form of communication is deeply rooted in the Indian tradition. This form of art was at popularity peak in 80’s and 90’s. Health and agricultural personnel’s, social action group, workers, political parties, women organisations are a part of this media. Its inception can be traced to Calcutta in 40’s. They got this inspiration from the west.

In recent times this form has been used to propagate social and political messages and to create awareness among the masses regarding critical issues. Street theatre breaks the formal barriers and approaches the people directly. It is presented in outdoor public space without a specific paying audience. This space can be streets, parks, malls etc. Street theatre directly attracts the people through the performance or dramatization that raise social consciousness on various on going subjects like dowry, education, divorce etc.

Street theatre is arguably the oldest form of theatre in existence: most mainstream entertainment mediums can be traced back to origins in street performing including religions passion plays and many other forms. More recently performers like hundred years ago would have made their living working in variety theatres, music halls and in vaudeville, now often perform professionally in many well-known street performance areas throughout the world. Notable performers that began their careers as street theatre performers include Robin Williams, David Bowie, Jewel and Harry Anderson.

One of the interesting points about modern street theatre is its unique socio-political place. People who might not have ever been to or been able to afford to go to legitimate theatre can watch a street show. Audience may be anyone or everyone who wants to watch if audience member cannot afford it then it is free.

As a means of communication street theatre is a good media to portray any social issue or message to the crowd. Everything in this world carries some merits as well as demerits so street theatre may not be exception to this end it may aware the people on different ongoing social issues like exploitation, education, etc both in positive as well as negative way. It is more of a louder variant of theatre, usually performed in the public places which grabs the attention of public but at same time many passer by bothers little to have a look on the performance. Some of the important theme in street plays are in 1980, the famous Mathura rape, and other highlight like cases on conflicts, hygiene and health.

No doubt street has proved to be very effective in mass education , adult –education and rural education especially in Pakistan  or South Asia, where majority of population are living in rural areas and where mass literacy remains a challenge for the government and the people at large . Over the time street theatre’s aura has spread in almost all the states. Non–governmental organisations have used in 1990s to promote ecological consciousness awareness about HIV, AIDS, family planning. Today in India Street theatre continues to be a popular form of expression and it will continue to do the dame in near future too.


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