This profile was prepared when Prosper Kompaoré was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1996.
The New Idea
Prosper Kompaoré is using participative theater to create scenarios that enable people to look at their most difficult questions, fears, and hopes. Viewer participants have a chance to challenge detrimental aspects of some of their conventions and traditions and explore potential avenues for change. This venue stimulates people to question their beliefs and social systems without putting themselves at risk.Prosper bases his theatrical practice on a format modeled after an indigenous dramatic game, developed as a traditional form of community problem solving, called the Koteba. His version of social-intervention performance developed in the same direction as those theories of popular theater developed by Augusto Boal of Brazil. Prosper adopted the term "Forum Theatre" and borrowed some of Boal's techniques, while remaining faithful to Burkina Faso's Koteba theatrical practice, which frames the originality of his approach and theory.Prosper believes that the potency of Forum Theatre as an agent of social change depends on the excellence of the people who lead the participative theatre events. To that end, he is promoting an "ethic of responsibility" among theatre professionals in the region and is training them to use their skills to address issues of social concern. In Forum Theatre, he is building an institution and training a new generation of theatre professionals, performers, and development practitioners on the continent, who will contribute in innovative and significant ways to sustainable and culturally appropriate development interventions.