Applied Theatre in Practising Integrated Approaches
ATIPIA is a preparatory, 13 month Erasmus + Project initiated by our association, with the long-term organizational vision of training a sustainable group of adult educators (or actor-pedagogues) in Romania, who can create, share and disseminate an innovative applied theatre technique combining verbal (TiE, DiE) and non-verbal (somatic, vocal) methods. To realise this vision initiated by the present project, there will be an effort made to enlarge its possibilities in the frame of its continuation as ATIPIA 2, completed by finding other supporters too. Throughout the 13 months of the project we will have 6 common trainings across all the partner countries, supplemented by 3 organizational/administrative meetings. The common trainings allow for the different partners to learn about and experience each other’s work, contributing not just to Shoshin’s organizational aim, but also enriching and inspiring each other, learning new techniques, new skills and new ways of approaching communities.
The potential of theatre to contribute to issues such as wellbeing, relationships, lifelong learning, active aging, adult education, integration and communication problems, awareness, belief in the self, clarity of thought and of expression, economy in movement, energy, presence, attention/concentration and the list goes on and on, is enormous. When theatre is 'applied' and becomes participatory, it can exert a very direct, visceral and beneficial effect on all those involved, not just the creators. The scope of ATIPIA is to examine several such applications and to see if it can amalgamate these different approaches in a common set of applied theatre techniques.
Applied theatre, marked in the project title, includes all types of theatre that is not only artistically motivated and production-oriented, but based on the needs of specific groups involved as participants, rather than a passive audience. Its aim can be educational, social or therapeutic (or the combination of all these), and it deals with issues that are important for the specific groups or communities. Participatory theatre puts the act of personal involvement in the forefront and allows for concrete interactions between performers and “spectators.” By participation, the individuals can – in a playful and memorable way – reflect on socio-political issues, their relations to the group or a certain community they are parts of. It supports the consideration of various viewpoints and social roles, therefore, it triggers empathy, understanding of others, open discussions, social inclusion and community building.
The partners of the project are: Leeds Beckett University (UK), Colaborative Reichenow (DE), Káva Kulturális Műhely (HU), Centre Artistique International Roy Hart (FR), Shoshin Theatre Association (RO).
The project will take place between November 2018 and December 2019.
Co-funded by the Erasmus + Programme of the European Union.
"Each organisation brings with it a specific area of expertise, from voice training and vocal research to education and training. By working together, the partners will examine several ideas, from voice and body work to theatre in education, and intergenerational performance making, sharing good practices and working to combine their different approaches in a common set of applied theatre techniques."
published: Leeds Beckett University, December 2018, by Teresa Brayshaw
"The work I saw was truly transformational and as the young people began to make suggestions as to how the scenarios could be different, or stood up and changed the direction of the action, I was reminded about all the work that the founder of Forum Theatre, Augusto Boal, had created and his reminder that …‘It is not the place of theatre to show the correct path, but only to offer the means by which all possible paths may be examined.’"
written by Teresa Brayshaw, published by: Leeds Beckett University, February 2019
Lisa Kendall: “In pedagogical terms, I’m left wondering how the amazing learning and artistic experiences, could be explored and disseminated whilst offering the most support and points of entry and departure to all participants regardless of gender or cultural heritage?”
written by Teresa Brayshaw, published by: Leeds Beckett University, April 2019
"The focus of exploration, in this leg of the training, upon how we might find our voices clearly implicates us in considering how we will then consider using our voices when we begin to apply this new knowledge in our respective cultural contexts."
written by Teresa Brayshaw, published by: Leeds Beckett University, July 2019
FEEDBACK FROM PARTICIPANTS
What have you personally learned from this week’s training?
"That asking questions based upon what you think rather than saying what you think is maybe more powerful – especially if the answer is ‘Good Question – I don’t know, I’m not sure…"
"The limits can be pushed. Humor is great. Participatory theatre is very accessible to people."
"Something about gratitude and integrity. This is what connects us well in our different approaches.
That it is important to raise your voice in reflecting through writing even if it is a great effort."
"I appreciated the slow and concentrated atmosphere of the training. It was my first introduction into the philosophy and basis of the Feldenkrais work. I felt the mix of information, reflection and practice well balanced and alive, referring to the questions of the moment. I had known some of the exercises before, but to experience them in the "proper" context, gave me whole new experience and a new set of questions."
What has been important?
"The ‘encounter’ of the participants.
Being introduced to new styles of teaching and creativity and group work."
"Cooperation and patience"
"That I’ve been surrounded by people that like me."
"This new version of the piece really asked of me to meet the performers as people and actor/performers in a way that seemed really healthy. This is a vision for community theatre and a blueprint for an attitude towards old age which I think should be taken forward. It is empowering and vital in an age where the balance of care and attention for our older people is shockingly skewed against them."
Questions that you have circulating about your experience of ‘the work’ now that you have come to the end:
"What manipulation do I find appropriate and consciously chosen and what manipulation is unconscious and not chosen?"
"What is our responsibility as artists in imagining/visioning a draft of a better future?"
"How can we make sense of each stage of the project and remain open?"
Feedback from the elderly participants in Cluj-Napoca's training
"For me personally the most significant was that with a small amount of movement and without any equipment how easily we can move our own body. For example it meant a lot for me that with those exercises with our feet I could feel my whole leg, nearly all of my muscles moved. I walked home easier already on that day and my ankle didn’t swell that much. So it has also a health benefit which meant a lot for me. The other thing is that it was astonishing…well I sang when I was little and when I was a pupil in a choir but they always said that I don’t have a good voice, and now here they said to me that I can sing and I sang after 50 years. For me this is a really big thing and it fealt really good. I am greatfull that I could be here."
"I would divide these six days into two sections. The first section is the part of the exercises. There was a lot of novelty for me and these were accompanied with interesting feelings, so I really enjoyed these. But the more significant part was what happend inbetween these exercises. The relationships between the people. I feel that everybody was so open towards each other, that I could feel your souls, and this is the biggest experience for me."
"It was a huge experience for me that after a long, a very long time of not having any relationships with anyone except with my family a community like this has accepted me. I received a lot of love, thank you."
"After 22 years of being single I got into a group where I was considered a human again."