Evaluating science theatre in Thailand
This project evaluated the outcomes of the health-themed drama workshop Fishy Clouds, which ran as part of ongoing public engagement activities at the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Research Centre (MORU) in Bangkok.
Video courtesy of Professor Phaik Yeong Cheah
what was the project?
Fishy Clouds, a puppet theatre show was created to engage communities in Thailand with issues of antimicrobial resistance and ethics of research with children. Due to the vast and varying target audience, non-verbal life size puppets were combined with live music and audience participation to create a narrative that could be understood and related to in different contexts. The story, about the proper use of antimicrobials and consenting to involving children in research, enabled all audience members, regardless of language, to connect to the narrative and be moved by the situations and characters it presented.
Fishy Clouds ran for twelve shows during the months of November and December 2016 in schools, hospitals, theatres and health centres. The show was performed in Bangkok and in the greater Mae Sot area in the Tak district of Thailand. Approximately 1500 people watched Fishy Clouds with the audience spanning children, scientists, theatre goers, and migrant Burmese and Karen populations.
How did the seed fund support the project?
The Public Engagement with Research Seed Fund allowed researchers at the MORU to evaluate the process and impact of Fishy Clouds, and develop a framework for evaluating drama performances as a way to engage the public with research.
What were the benefits of the project?
This evaluation of Fishy Clouds will generate a better understanding of awareness-raising through health-themed drama. It will help to shape public engagement activities across the region, and increase local capacity to conduct public engagement evaluations.