Conservation Theatre: Mirroring Experiences and Performing Stories in Community Management of Natural Resources

María Heras, J. David Tàbara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016, Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. ABSTRACT: Learning how to boost collective imagination and creativity is a key component in transformative processes supporting community-based natural resource management (CBNRM). The use of the arts in such contexts is becoming a prominent methodological approach in strategies aimed at opening new spaces for public dialogue and reflection. The arts play a decisive role in sense-making and especially in establishing meaningful and emotional connections between individuals and their broader socioecological systems. This article explores the contribution of “conservation theatre” to sustainability learning and to the integration and mobilization of multiple knowledge actors for CBNRM. We focus on an experience in a Mexican community using participatory theatre with young people. Our experience illustrates that conservation theatre helped raise awareness of local conservation issues and contributed to opening nonconventional, aesthetically rich spaces for new ways of social interaction, diversity recognition, and empathic dialogues. It also showed limitations suggesting the importance of further work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)948-964
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2016


  • Arts-based research
  • community-based natural resource management (CBNRM)
  • forest management
  • participation
  • performative methods
  • sustainability learning


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