Founded in 1994 by a group of young artists, Amani People’s Theatre (APT) has trained practitioners and community groups in their arts-based approach across Kenya as well as internationally. Their work has been wide-ranging, including working with communities affected by post-election violence, cattle rustling, as well as tackling ethnic conflict and most recently, countering violent extremism. As well as implementing projects and working with communities at the grassroots level, APT has also conducted training for capacity building and strengthening individuals and communities (community-based organizations and NGO’s) in the field of social development.
APT has trained over 500 community animators across Kenya who have since become leaders in peace building in their own communities. Over the years, APT has also hosted international practitioners who have travelled to Kenya to train in their methodology. APT is widely considered a key organisation in Kenya promoting the use of Theatre for Development (TfD) and, more specifically, of the value of the arts in promoting peace and social change.
APT’s apporach employs TfD to empower communities to solve their own problems through theatre. Like many other TfD colleagues, APT draws on the radical pedagogy of Paulo Freire. In terms of APT’s work, this explicit focus on development – and an understanding that TfD is about empowerment – is harnessed to encourage individuals and communities to critically analyse the root causes of conflict and to find non-violent ways of responding to conflict and wider social injustices.