Melissa Eveleigh

Director - Trainer - Consultant
Theatre - Communication - Activism - Development

Melissa Eveleigh is an Arts and Communication expert specialising in theatre and media for good governance, dialogue and justice. Melissa has broad grassroots experience in Southern Africa and South Asia, including: strategy and programme design and project implementation, training practitioners in a wide range of drama-based processes, devising and touring issue-based performance, designing and implementing community-based education, national campaigning, using theatre and mass media for awareness, engagement and policy interaction. 

Melissa’s 15  years of experience includes living and working in Southern Africa for 12 years where she co-founded and managed the  award-winning Arts and Development NGO, Nanzikambe Arts

In Malawi she established a national programme for the arts, and a national network of practitioners using social research, interactive theatre and local media for positive change. Programmes delivered change in the areas of governance, justice, rights, sexual and reproductive health, HIV and Malaria prevention. 

In Zimbabwe, Melissa has worked extensively at community level, providing assistance to CAFOD and GIZ to build relations between local authorities and residents in the context of economic collapse and recent political violence. In Malawi, Kenya and Bangladesh she trained paralegals, counsellors, restorative justice practitioners and social mobilisors for the Bangladesh GIZ Rule of Law programme, designed a 5 year action-oriented communication framework, and developed national initiatives for justice in South Sudan and Myanmar (DFID, EU, FCO programmes).

This film shows how Forum Theatre has been used for legal awareness in Myanmar – Melissa trained the group and developed interactive methods for research, monitoring and evaluation:  

Paralegal training video Bangladesh: 

In addition to applying theatre process to development, Melissa has devised and directed 12 major productions, and countless performances.  Most recently, a performance led event at SOAS on Eritrea, and in South Africa, a piece made in memory of Ugandan Gay Rights activist David Kato. Photos and excerpts of H28 can be viewed in this clip: