Utilizing Readers Theater for Health Promotion Education in a Rural Setting


  • Betty Key Samford University
  • Lovie Burrell Parks Panola Outreach Community Resources
  • Emily Gray University of Alabama
  • Janiece Erskine University of North Alabama


Purpose: The aims of the study were to bring in healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, provide cardiac health promotion information, and build a community-based partnership with a rural community in West Alabama by soliciting members of the community to participate in and attend a play on cardiovascular health promotion.

Sample: The sample population was mostly older African American community members from a non-incorporated, rural area along with individuals from surrounding communities in an Alabama Black Belt county. Through community collaboration, 67 persons were recruited to participate as actors via reading a script and (n =13) and all remaining persons were audience members for the community play (n = 54).

Method: This study utilized a community-based participatory research approach with a qualitative, descriptive research design. The Farmers Theater Toolkit, which utilizes a readers theater technique was used to bring cardiovascular health promotion information to a rural community setting.

Findings: The majority of audience participants either strongly or somewhat agreed that what they learned from the community play would help them make better food choices (96.3%). 

Conclusion: Utilizing the Farmers Theater Toolkit in a rural community was an innovative, fun way to share health promotion information. The citizens of this community were very welcoming to the researcher and were excited to partner with an academic institution. Health promotion education may reduce health risk behaviors such as unhealthy food choices. This type of intervention may serve as an impetus to making better food choices.

Keywords: rural community, theater, health eating, health promotion

DOI:  https://doi.org/10.14574/ojrnhc.v22i1.696 

Author Biographies

Betty Key, Samford University


Assistant Professor 

Lovie Burrell Parks, Panola Outreach Community Resources


Founder and president of the Panola Outreach Community Resource Center

Emily Gray, University of Alabama


Registered Nurse, Capstone College of Nursing

Janiece Erskine, University of North Alabama


Graduate Nursing Student