Performance Art as a Peace Promotion and Advocacy Tool in Nepal: An Arts-Based Research Perspective
A different form of performing arts has been a basic staple in inducing catharsis to human suffering and to add to their emotional pleasures since time immemorial i.e. theatre. It is with this historical acknowledgment of its strength and premise that theatre can be claimed to be one of the effective tools in relieving or releasing conflict-induced pain, thereby creating peace and compassion in their hearts.
This paper examines the empirical experience the authors acquired by way of showcasing a theatrical performance on a seemingly formal theme of women, peace and security agenda in the post-conflict setting of Nepal. The play also sought to renew the assurances of hope while also telling the tales of women victims of armed conflict. The performance was staged in order to help the conflict victims of Nepal’s decade long armed struggle (1996-2006) reflect on their woes and see their stories retold by the artists. Feedback received in the post-performance phase indicated that the play turned out to be a therapeutic communication to victims in relation to letting go of their grief. The paper also scrutinizes how it is an effective tool in conveying a message to policymakers. The paper also seeks to chart out lessons learnt towards promoting peace by executing theatre shows and sheds light on how the agenda as serious as UNSCR 1325 and 1820 can be communicated, reinforced and advocated for in a national context like that of Nepal.
In this note, the paper is an evaluative rendition of a theatrical show named (Birrupa: a courageous Rupa) from arts-based research perspective (Leavy 2019) which was watched by over ten thousand people from various walks of life. It tests how dominantly tragic plays touch to the core of ailing hearts and reminds the spectators of their obligations to help them out.
Keywords: Women, Peace and Security, Advocacy, Theatre, Catharsis, Peacebuilding, Arts-based Research