Disaster risk reduction on stage: An empirical evaluation of community-based theatre as risk communication tool for coastal risk mitigation and ecosystem-based adaptation

Philip Bubeck, Thi Dieu My Pham, Nguyen Thi Nhat Anh, Paul Hudson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Sendai Framework highlights the need for an all-of-society effort to reduce the societal burden of flooding, with a focus on those being disproportionately affected. In this context, community-based organizations shall contribute to and support public awareness, a culture of prevention and education on disaster risk. Participatory theatre could be a promising means to that end, but quantitative evaluations are currently lacking. We provide a systematic literature review on participatory theatre in the context of natural hazards and disaster risk reduction. Moreover, we quantitatively evaluate to what extent community-based theatre implemented by the Women's Union in Central Vietnam could contribute to public awareness and foster societal engagement. 10 theatre performances in five coastal communes were evaluated using pre- and post-performance surveys among 635 visitors, mainly women. We find that community-based theatre enhanced risk perceptions, perceived flood knowledge, self-efficacy, and the importance of social participation. No significant effect was found on intentions to engage in (collective) risk reducing behavior. We conclude that participatory theatre is an effective risk-communication tool for community-based organizations, which should be embedded in broader activities addressing societal resilience against flooding. Future research should explore the sustainability of the observed increases and the long-term dynamics of behavioral changes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100323
Number of pages9
JournalProgress in Disaster Science
Early online date25 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

© 2024 The Authors.


  • Community-based theatre
  • Disaster risk reduction
  • Adaptation
  • Resilience

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