Past activities

An evening on theatre for social change

Wednesday, 4 July 2007
Venue: House of Democracy and Human Rights, Berlin
Programme organised in co-operation with Stiftung Nord Süd Brücken, German foundation for promoting North-South relations and equity
Programme details (in German)

Forum theatre workshop "creating relation"

Sanjoy Ganguly (Jana Sanskriti, India)

Sanjoy Ganguly, Founder and Director of the Forum Theatre collective Jana Sanskriti in West Bengal, India, conducted a forum theatre workshop for trainers and facilitators interested in using theatre as a tool for empowerment. 

Dates: 29 April 2007 to 05 May 2007

Place: Halle, East Germany

Coordinated by the Action Theatre Group Halle (ATG) in cooperation with sabisa – performing change and Friedenskreis Halle

Theatre in Malawi: From Dictatorship
to Democratisation

Public Lecture and Discussion with Dr. Mufunanji Magalasi

Date: Tuesday, 27.3.2007, 19:30 hrs.

Venue: Werkstatt der Kulturen, Wissmannstraße 32, 12049 Berlin

U Herrmannplatz (U7,U8)


The history of popular theatre in Malawi begins in the 1970s, a time of extreme political repression during the decades of the dictatorship under Kamuzu Banda. A new aesthetics of transmitting stories and experiences emerged in the course of the 1980s, which allowed for political and social critique to be expressed under tight censorship.

In his public lecture, Dr. Mufunanji Magalasi will speak about the significance of Popular Theatre in Malawi today. He will give examples of the use of theatre in community development and outline the challenges facing theatre artists in Southern Africa.

Dr. Mufunanji Magalasi is Lecturer in Drama and Participatory Methods at the University of Malawi, Chancellor College and also an experienced theatre practitioner. He has taught in South Africa and is currently Guest Lecturer at the University of Leeds in the UK. He is the author of "Stage drama in independent Malawi: 1980 - 2002".

In 2003, Mufunanji took part in sabisa's project „Communication in Conflicts“ in Berlin with a workshop for trainers on theatre in Malawi.


Forum Theatre in Schools

Participatory School Development Using the "Theatre of the Oppressed"

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Schools involved: Alexander-Puschkin-OS (Berlin-Lichtenberg) and Thomas-Mann-OS (Märkisches Viertel, Berlin) with 13-17 year olds.
Issues: conflicts in school life
A public presentation was held in December 2006.

The project was supported by
Council of Berlin, Youth and Family Affairs
and the initiative
5000xZukunft von Aktion Mensch.

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For further information contact marek.svb (at)

Documentation (only in German) available as PDF file here.

Communication in Conflicts (KiK 2006)

Theatre Workshop "My Shadow walks with me on stage"

with HOPE AZEDA (Rwanda) and NORA AMIN (Egypt/Sudan)

The workshop dealt with using theatre-based approaches in dealing with trauma, as a form of engaging in social and political change, as well as in biographical exploration.

Three Theatre Methods for Social Change

"Playmaking", "Didactic Play" and "Forum theatre"

As part of the Sixth Festival of Politics in the Free Theatre in Berlin sabisa - performing change organised a panel discussion preceded by a brief introduction to three theatre methods.

Playmaking (Mitspielaktion), didactic play (Lehrstück) and forum theatre are three methods often used to explore possibilities to change society and empower individuals in the process. Experts on these methods will debate the advantages and drawbacks of each of these methods and discuss which conditions are best suited for their application.

Participants had the opportunity to get a glimpse of the three methods before the panel discussion during introductory method workshops.


Philipp Harpain (GRIPS Theater, Berlin) - Playmaking
Gerd Koch (Alice Salomon Fachhochschule, Berlin) - Didactic Play
Michael Wrentschur (InterACT, Graz) - Forum Theatre

Wednesday, 16 November, 2005
14:00 -17:30 hrs. : Introductory method workshops
18.30 hrs. : Panel discussion

Venue: Theater Unterm Dach

Danziger Straße 101, 10405 Berlin
S-Bahn Greifswalder Straße, Prenzlauer Allee

Further information: hannah.reich (at)

Salam Berlin!

September - December 2004

Theatre Project with schools in inner-city Berlin
in cooperation with GRIPS Theater and Theaterpädagogische Aktionen

Starting in September 2004, theatre workshops with pupils (Grades 8 and 9) from five Berlin schools culminating in performances will take place. The workshops will examine cultural stereotypes and prejudices that have alarmingly risen in the past few years. Among the themes that will be reflected upon are islamophobia and antisemitism amongst the youth in Berlin. The aim of the workshops and performance, where all of the groups will present their results to each other, is a further integration of Muslim youth into German society. The workshop facilitators will prepare for their work with this very sensitive topic in discussions and training sessions on the backgrounds of the conflicts in play and the everyday situation of youth from an Arab background living in Berlin.

Communication in Conflicts - KiK '04

October-November 2004

International exchange and training programme on theatre in conflict transformation and development

Theatre practitioners from Romania, Ethiopia, Zambia, Nepal, Palestine, Ghana/Norway and Brazil will be spending two weeks in Berlin, working together on a joint forum theatre production as well as giving workshops for facilitators and youth, giving insights into different creative methods of empowerment and conflict transformation. The aim of the exchange programme is to provide practitioners in Berlin with alternative approaches to theatre in education and development from the global South.

The programme is funded by the State of Berlin (Landesstelle für Entwicklungszusammenarbeit), Stiftung Nord-Süd-Brücken, Stiftung Umverteilen! and the German Protestant Development Service (Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst).

Short Stories for Long Moments of Peace

International Work Camp with Prize Winners of Short Story Competition of the World Peace Service
in co-operation with World Peace Service (WFD) and International Youth and Community Service (IJGD)

The peace communication project of the World Community Services (Weltfriedensdienst) held an international short story writing competition for youth from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Israel, Palestine and Germany, to bring youth into contact with the daily lives and realities of other young people and to share experiences and stories of living with violent conflict. Over 500 short stories were received from six countries, published in February 2004 in an anthology in German entitled ”The stars shone, yet the birds wailed. Short stories for Peace”. In August 2004, the prize winners (three from each of the six participant countries, eighteen youth in all) were invited to a specially organised two-week programme in Berlin-Brandenburg.
sabisa conducted a theatre workshop during the first week, in which the participants had the opportunity to get to know each other better, find common themes and prepare a public performance.

Performing Africa

May 2004, Conference in Leeds UK

Conference in Leeds/UK, Organised by Leeds University Centre for African Studies (LUCAS).

Conference Paper (Paula Kramer): "Performing Research - Researching Performance in South Africa. Methodological Musings on Research Praxis and Theatre as Research"

Drawing both from writing on qualitative methodology and my own research on theatre as an agent for and co-creator of social transformation in South Africa, my paper aims toward inspiring collaborations between social science research and theatre. Going beyond the concept of delivering research results in a performative format, I argue that multiple research praxes are already intricate parts of theatre-making. I therefore advocate broadening the possibilities and concepts of collaboration between academic research and theatre, suggesting that both fields can profit immensely from recognizing their already existing proximity.

For the presentation of the paper I had chosen to mix my voice and my giving of a paper with some quotes (as audio tracks) from interviews - not with the intention to make my re-presentation more 'authentic' - or even 'true' - but rather as a way of sharing the research experience and particularly the conversations which intrigued me to think with more detail about the affinity of qualitative research and theatre.

Peace Education Around the World

February 2004, Feldafing

International Expert Meeting on Theory and Practice of Peace Education in Feldafing, Germany
Performance and Workshop: " Transforming Conflict through Theatre"
in cooperation with Amani People's Theatre, Kenya and The Mothertongue Project, South Africa. Organised by InWEnt (Capacity Building International, Germany) and the Institute for Peace Education (Tuebingen)

During the International Conference on Peace Education set in the context of development co-operation, sabisa presented an evening’s performance, along with two partners from Kenya and South Africa. Ideas depicted in this performance were developed in a workshop on the potentials of theatre work in conflict transformation, to enable participants to creatively approach the issues and questions in this field and learn from a variety of cultural experiences.

Children in Conflicts

November-December 2003

Theatre workshops to the exhibition "Krieg ist kein Kinderspiel – Kinderzeichnungen zum Krieg" (War isn't Child's Play – Children's drawings in wars) in the House of Democracy and Human Rights, Berlin
A joint project of sabisa – performing change, the Foundation of the House of Democracy and the Berlin Network of Non-Governmental Organisations (Berliner Entwicklungspolitischen Ratschlags e.V.)
in cooperation with GRIPS Theatre

Communication in Conflicts - KiK '03

June-July 2003

Trainers' exchange programme with facilitators from Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and Zambia in Berlin
in cooperation with World Peace Service (Weltfriedensdienst e.V.), InterACT (Austria) and the Regional Association for Play and Theatre Berlin (LAG Spiel und Theater Berlin e.V.)
funded by the German Ministry for Economic Coopertion and Development, the Foundation "Redistribute!" (Stiftung "umverteilen!") and the Church Development Service (Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst e.V.)

In June 2003 sabisa organised a three week long exchange and training programme with six theatre facilitators from Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and Zambia. Our guests presented their projects and orgnisations in a performative way for the general public on the opening evening and then gave further insights into their work through workshop sessions with German participants. Together with German multipliers they participated in training sessions on Forum Theatre and political street theatre and travelled to Halle and Merseburg to take part in the street theatre day of DOMINO – Zivilcourage im Rampenlicht, where they performed in a devised piece together with a group of university students from Merseburg. They were also invited to a discussion on pedagogical theatre practice in Germany by the Regional Association for Play and Theatre Berlin (LAG Spiel und Theater Berlin e.V.).

Through our intensive practical work together, many relevant discussions were reflected on such as the role of community theatre in social change and the responsibilities associated with this work. In addition, a workshop on developing project ideas and preparing proposals brought about ideas and plans for future cooperations between sabisa and the organisations from Africa and between the African facilitators themselves.

Communication in Conflicts - KiK '02

Sep-October 2002

Train the trainers exchange programme with facilitators from South Africa in Berlin
in cooperation with World Community Services (Weltfriedensdienst e.V.) and InterACT (Austria)
funded by the Foundation Umverteilen!