Aiding Dramatic Change in Development (ADCID) is a non-profit organization that uses participatory theatre, art and dialogue processes. We design and implement the development of innovative community mobilisation initiatives.

Aiding Dramatic Change in Development (ADCID) works with organisations at local level, using a capacity building approach, to deal with highly contextual situations. We adhere to Paulo Friere’s belief of “swimming in the cultural waters of the people” working from within the community and using community members’ own life experiences to guide sustainable development. Our community-driven approach, has evolved over 10 years through work in rural South Africa, and Ontario, where we have run projects funded by Health Canada, Oxfam Australia, Ontario Trillium Foundation and McMaster University.

Participatory Arts

We have partnered on projects addressing local concerns and aspirations through applied theatre, psychosocial methods and community art, resulting in cultural dialogue, skill development and social transformation. Our transformative learning workshops use participatory theatre practices to reflect social realities and provide a forum for personal development and community empowerment.

Capacity Building

We work with health and educational organisations to develop and implement projects, workshops, activities and performances. We plan and implement structured training to members of local communities focussed on workshop facilitation and participatory performance. We conduct developmental evaluations and/or research in collaboration with all of our community partners to monitor and evaluate effectiveness, improve programming, and inform the work of stakeholders. One developing stream that we are pursuing, involves group processes that enable community capacities to direct service design and innovation.


Aiding Dramatic Change in Development (ADCID) integrates reflective and dialogical art processes into development and community empowerment programmes, enabling people to share experiences, supporting community building and inclusion amoung community members. We developed a unique reflective and dialogical arts-based inquiry process called Socio-Drama Topography (SDT). The SDT process engages large groups of 20 or more participants. It is designed to reduce barriers to participation faced by marginalized communities, including those relating to varying levels of literacy. Through this multi-day process these groups collaborate in deep, open, and strategically relevant conversations. The SDT process has been used in various community contexts to explore issues such as Peer influence and relationships in the context of HIV/AIDS, environmental health factors affecting people living and affected by HIV/AIDS, and Water Access Sanitation and Health.

Transdisciplinary Framework

All our projects can be looked at through a Transdisciplinary lens. Through our InFusion Labs, we create workshop spaces in which a group of practitioners (applied theatre, therapists, mediators, strategic planners, service providers) can explore and engage in discourse together using embodied and spatial processes facilitated by ADCID. These were extended during our CrossGEN project to help adapt the Socio-Drama Topography process for engaging communities in Niagara. From this and through other research and development we have created an InFusion Framework. The Framework provides a way to structure reflective inquiry between and across different fields. Practitioners gain an embodied understanding of their journey from their field of practice (a particular “hat” they wear) into the flexible space, and subsequent reflection on influencing strategic actions carried out by their field. From this Framework, we look to move beyond integrating approaches and fields, but rather to configure them based on how they provide enabling conditions for community-driven development.

Knowledge Sharing and Dissemination:

In 2013, we published the chapter Looking Beyond Needs: Capacity focussed Development through the Socio-Drama Topography Process, in the UK book Knowledges in Publics. We have also published reports on the web about the use of applied theatre to address HIV/AIDS-related issues and have facilitated seminars and provided training on the use of applied theatre for community dialogue and education in Canada, South Africa, United Kingdom and Austria.