Ireland has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in Europe with exclusive breastfeeding rates of 44 per cent at discharge from hospital. Increased awareness and debate on breastfeeding and its issues is needed. The purpose of this paper is to describe an evaluation of the piloting of a forum theatre production in increasing awareness of breastfeeding.
A mixed methods approach was taken. Research participants were identified through the four organisations in which the play was performed. Approximately 160 people watched a performance of the play. Quantitative data were collected from 110 audience members who completed a postcard survey. Qualitative data were collected from 42 people prior to seeing the play and 47 people after seeing the play, through focus groups and individual interviews.
Over 90 per cent of participants thought the play was a good way of discussing breastfeeding and they thought it was more effective than usual health promotion of giving out leaflets. Qualitative interviews found that the play heightened people's awareness of breastfeeding, highlighted the importance of support and engaged people in discussion and debate around breastfeeding.
The concept of promoting breastfeeding through drama is quite novel and this evaluation shows a potential for using such techniques in health promotion on varied nutrition‐related topics.
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