The performing arts have in the past been marginalised locally, perhaps by virtue of its primary hence traditional function to solely provide alternative recreational entertainment.

Yet creative platforms of expressions - be it for music, theatre, dance, drama, poetry and visual arts, have collectively proven to be effective entertainment, educational, communicative, mobilisation and awareness enhancing mediums.

A group of youthful, enterprising and multi-faceted artists are redefining the role of performing arts.

Working under the YADEN [Youth, Arts, Development & Entrepreneurship Network] initiative, the artists have adopted theatre and drama as tools to spur development at the grassroots.

"We are driven by vision to tap into the performing arts, which ideally can serve a pivotal, integral part of everyday life," says thespian Samuel Gathii.

The YADEN initiative is tailored to assist youths advance their potential into practical skills. In the long term, this offers them opportunities to earn a decent livelihood and also empower them actively participate in their communities' socio-cultural and economic development.

Initially established in 2004 as Y-TAP (Youth Talent Advancement Program), the initiative has grown into a community driven, innovative, inclusive and participatory art based theatre movement.

So far, the group's focus targets marginalised and disfranchised young people as an entry point into the wider community.

Youthful artists - actors, dancers, actresses and musicians, are brought together to learn from one another by exchanging ideas and experiences.

"By sharing their collective skills, knowledge and information, this approach helps unlock individual artists' entrepreneurial potentials," explains Gathii.

Skilled youths help stimulate and inspire new ideas, which are bound to inspire 'hope' for their communities for years, socially marginalised and disempowered owing to widespread poverty.

"The community experiences numerous challenges related to limited access to financial, material resources, non-existent health, infrastructural services besides an adversely degraded environment," says David Kirios, co-ordinator of Olma Literacy Outreach Initiative Program (OLOIP).

One of the groups regularly co-ordinates dramatised performances in perennially sun-baked villages across Ngong division in Kajiado County.