Drama and video are effective tools for stimulating reflection and research on violence. This article describes a research process which tried to understand expressions of identity, constructions of citizenship and prospects for reducing future violence in northern Nigeria, where there have been many outbreaks of violence centred on religion and ethnicity. Researchers and local partners carried out a survey in several communities. They then used the survey findings to develop a drama which was performed in each community and which was followed by a facilitated debate. Participatory video was integrated at all stages. The research findings show that most people do not believe that the contemporary violence is a result of religion. Rather, they see religion as the organising platform. This analysis offers a more nuanced understanding of the conflict than merely labelling it ethno-religious.