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Living and Breathing the Arts in Thailand

Makhampom Living Theatre is based in Chiang Dao in northern Thailand. The group believes in working in the medium of the arts and is integral to the life of people in a village called Pang Daeng. The theatre lies at the foot of the beautiful Doi Luang mountain and near the Ping River.


The way to Makhampom Living Theatre

Sixteen of us, from the Diploma in Applied Drama and Psychology (DADP), got a chance to learn about how arts can truly sustain and enrich a community, when we visited the group recently.


Learning about how others live

Simple things became experiences for us. We slept on mattresses on the ground, with mosquito nets around us every night. We battled with a variety of insects as we took our showers. We witnessed the work of rats as we checked our belongings, which were bitten through. We lived and learnt about how villagers lived.


Learning about the arts in the community

The youth in the village shared with us how the arts have enhanced their self-worth; how learning to play musical instruments or perform acrobatics, for example, enabled them make a living. We had fun trying out some circus acts and sword play.


They shared with us what “community” means and how the arts can be integral in connecting everyone in the community.


Learning about applied drama and relationships

The youth have no vocabulary of “applied drama”. However, through their sharing of their own art forms and how they are used in the community, I learnt that applied drama is about relationship-building.


DADP students and some of the hosts from Makhampom Living Theatre


They encouraged us when we were learning their games. They used gestures and non-verbal cues to teach us how to bake. With smiles, they showed their sincerity in communicating to us. I discovered then although applied drama requires certain tools and skills, what is most important is the connection that the heart wants to make. 


The work Makhampom does with the community is extremely meaningful. We are really honoured that we had a chance to be part of it.


Written by Pearlyn Goh Shi Yun

Year 3, Diploma in Applied Drama and Psychology