Dance and Drama in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa (Research Paper)

Building Capacity Through Arts Education and Technology: An Interactive CD-ROM Project, Dance and Drama in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa

By Susan Battye and Dr Mercy Mirembe Ntangaare.

Paper presented by Susan Battye on behalf of Dr Mercy Mirembe Ntangaare by invitation in the Workshop Sessions, World Conference on Arts Education: Building Creative Capacities For the 21st Century, Lisbon, Portugal, 6-9 March 2006.


This paper examines the way in which production of an interactive CD-ROM, Dance and Drama in Uganda: the Pearl of Africa has assisted the building of capacity in the arts in Uganda.

The CD-ROM is the result of a unique three-year collaborative project between Ugandan playwright, researcher, teacher and folklore exponent, Dr Mercy Mirembe Ntangaare and New Zealand teacher, playwright and researcher, Susan Battye.  It provides many contemporary and historical perspectives on Ugandan dance and drama, and will be of relevance to teachers of arts education internationally.

The collaborative production process involved many cross-cultural challenges for the two authors including: working with academic, non-governmental and government systems, defining the focus of the resource to meet the needs of Ugandan and New Zealand students, finding funds for travel and video production, researching, co-authoring, collating, editing, publishing, distributing and publicising the CD-ROM through an Australian agency.


Featured items contained in the multi-media CD-ROM include various forms of Dance and Drama in Uganda such as: cultural dances, folksongs, dance drama, political plays, children’s theatre, puppetry, acrobatics, community theatre, and Theatre for Development projects. Texts of iconic Ugandan plays and articles by many academics and community theatre practitioners from Makerere University’s Music Dance and Drama Department (MDD) provide an insight into the significance of Ugandan theatre in its historical and contemporary post-colonial context. A comprehensive set of focussed learning activities particularly suitable for secondary students is also included in the CD-ROM.

CD-ROM is available on request from Contact:

[i] This paper is based on an unpublished paper, The Challenges and Prospects of E-publishing in Africa, the E-Book Project at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. Paper Presentation by: Susan Battye and Dr Mercy Mirembe Ntangaare to the 5th World Congress of the International Drama /Theatre and Education Association (IDEA), Ottawa, Canada, July 2-8 2004. ISBN 0-476-01372-0


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