“Coronavirus – Fake or Real?” Attitudinal Change Communication: Gregory University Uturu Theatre in Community Development Experiment
Emergent realities on coronavirus pandemic have shown that the virus has had and perhaps continues to have deep and far-reaching impact on the world at large. However, despite the evident global index rate of coronavirus cases and resulting deaths, which evidently reinforces the gravity of the lethal nature of the virus, and the strategic sensitisation campaigns of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), as well as other world monitors on its health implications and detailed preventive measures, evidence abounds that many people still did not come to terms with its reality. This is a sheer demonstration of negation that only reinforces entrenched misguided perceptions and the fact that people actually live what they believe, irrespective of the aftermath. Hence, the information at a people’s disposal, negative or positive, goes a long way to shape their perception of life, issues and incidents that take place around them as well as how they respond to them. “Coronavirus – Fake or Real?” Attitudinal Change Communication, therefore, is an interventionist attitudinal reorientation initiative of the Department of Theatre and Media Studies, Gregory University Uturu, Nigeria aimed at redirecting such misguided perceptions and responses/attitudes of its target audience to the colossal health and socio-economic challenge and danger which Covid-19 pandemic portended. The experiment was premised on the recognition of the invaluable role of theatre as a highly dynamic and powerful conscientisation medium with capacity to reorient and realign audience’s misguided perceptions that had continued to entrench their negation of evident realities of the ravaging incidents of coronavirus pandemic, and their indifferent reactions towards the development. The study, therefore, in highlighting the validity of theatre’s instrumentality in serving the vital conscientisation need of the time, also attempted to assess the extent to which the experiment was able to guide the attitudes and actions of its target audience in responding to the prevailing situation in which they found themselves.