It was reported today that PSI in India is using a traditional form of theater, Therukoothu, to convey anti-smoking messages in Chennai. Therukoothu is a form of street theater typically conducted in open air during village festivals that was developed in Tamilnadu. Performances typically consist of story-telling, dialogue, song and dance, and usually the content is derived from Hindu epics or local folklore.
At the beginning of the month, health policy makers in India imposed the world's biggest smoking ban forbidding people throughout the country to smoke in bars, offices and other public places. An initiative that intends to address a recent finding that one in every 20 deaths in India is smoking related. PSI is using street theater performances to spread the word about the ban and to educate about the risks of smoking. Program managers have found that using Therukoothu as a channel for health messages helps attract large crowds and captivates their interest.