A festival of theatre made by refugees will be held on 26 – 29 March 2018.
This next actacentre international theatre festival will bring together learning from the REACT project, which uses community theatre for refugees to share their stories with host communities across Europe.
The festival will include shows, seminars, workshops and conversations from acta’s REACT partners in Sicily and Holland, practitioners from across Europe and community performers from across Bristol and the UK.
As well as sharing learning from the REACT partners, the festival promises to inspire people from across the sector – practitioners, students, theatre companies, refugee organisations – to do more and better.
Tickets go on sale in the Autumn.
The festival is supported by EU Creative Europe and Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
theatre shows in three countries, REACT 2017
In Bristol, acta has been working since Autumn 2016 with a group of nine women at Hannah More Primary, from Somalia, Sudan, Bangladesh and the UK to create a new piece of theatre based on their lives and experiences. They have been meeting weekly, and have used a process of improvisation, discussion and role-play to devise their play It’s My Life. The play focused on the stories of two women trying to balance their lives between what they want, and what is expected of them by their families and cultures. It performed on 23-24 May at the actacentre theatre, to a diverse audience from different Bristol communities.
acta has also made links with refugee organisations and key workers, and has been delivering ‘taster’ theatre workshops with refugees and migrants in Bristol, including a group of fathers at a local school, and tenants from a social housing project. This will lead to new refugee theatre projects beginning in September 2017, which will create performances for the festival in March.
Rotterdams Wijktheater (RWT)
RWT planned to use a new theatrical project structure – Pop Up Theatre – which offers the possibility, by means of short term intervention, to devise theatre with refugees. In this temporary theatre people are invited to tell their stories and are encouraged through theatrical methods to share their stories with each other.
RWT started working with a group of 12 Syrian refugees living in a brand new asylum centre in one of the Rotterdam neighbourhoods. They worked for a couple of weeks listening to their stories, improvising, and… dancing. Three men presented their piece at a seminar at the International Community Arts Festival and for the Syrian community living in Rotterdam. After the presentation for the Syrian community, lots of Syrian refugees expressed their interest in being part of the theatre project. This group will be participating in our next theatre project starting in September 2017.
The first small theatre project raised a lot of important questions about what would be the best moment for refugees to join a theatre project. Living in an asylum centre also meant that they have to deal with a lot of mental health issues, daily obligations put upon them by the Dutch government, being moved from one place to another, starting a procedure for a permit to stay…. all these elements have an impact on their lives and the (im)possibility for participants to join the project.
Centre for Creative Development “Danilo Dolci” (CSC) uses active learning methodology that is supported by the use of non-formal methods including: Creative Thinking, Theatre of the Oppressed, plus dance and other artistic and creative techniques, and the most important, Danilo Dolci’s Reciprocal Maieutic Approach (RMA). The RMA method is based on the sharing process of answering, exploring and creating. As the name itself recalls, the RMA is a “reciprocal” process in the form of an intense dialogue between at least two people and it normally develops within a group. RMA as a methodology will be included in participatory theatre activities in order to use participatory theatre as a tool to develop empathy, promote intercultural understanding as well as strengthen interpersonal relationships between refugees and host communities.
In order to prepare for the theatrical shows, CSC has been spreading the opportunity around all SPRAR (Refugee Centers) in Palermo to gather a group of young refugees and their friends under the instruction of an experienced Artistic Director, Martino Lo Cascio. The group has been rehearsing since April and the piece was performed in July.