When lockdown happened in March, we moved to Zoom and discovered many of the techniques and games could be used online. What is more, it meant that people could join in from all over the world. Participants in the current group dial in from Berlin, Prague, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
We've been using Forum Theatre and Sociodrama to explore themes including gender-based violence, and white privilege.
It's been cool to see how working online opens up new possibilities in performance aesthetics.
Get in touch if you would like to be part of this friendly and fun group.
As part of a team of facilitators with Reboot the Roots, we guided a group of refugees and migrants in Granada to create a public peformance based on their experiences of being new to Spain.
The project was in collaboration with La Bolina, an innovative eco-community providing training in permaculture and supporting migrants and refugees to set up sustainable collective enterprises which benefit the community.
The Forum piece showed two incidences of xenophobia and discrimination in public places; a bus and a night club. The audience played the game to figure out what they would do if they witnessed such an incident.
In addition to building confidence and theatre skills, participants found new friendships.
The photo shows the group in a tableau of what the word 'belonging' meant to them.
The group continues to perform this play in local villages around Granada.
Rehearse the Revolution's first public Forum Theatre performance was produced over just two day workshops, and was a provocative piece which brought issues such as insecure work, lack of social network, and mental health issues can impact on people and for our character, led to homelessness.
Here is the feedback from the audience on our amazing Forum Piece:
"It was really interesting to think about the issue proposed and the discussion after the presentation"
"Really enjoyed today. Great topic and discussion. Well acted and a catalyst for thought. Thank you!"
"Really great to see people being so creative and thought-provoking together!"
"It was great to interact with the performance and lead to a discussion. A shame programmes like 'Question Time' don't employ some theatre strategies"
"Really useful to rehearse the revolution. I want to do it get better at it, make it a reality. Thank you"
The Wellbeing Group at Toynbee Hall wanted to use Forum Theatre to explore the experience of loneliness and disconnection for elderly people in their community. After games, poetry, singing and active listening, we were able to construct the story of a fictional character, who was feeling isolated, but was unable to find connection and was ashamed to speak about how lonely she felt. Together we considered strategies to address the emotional, social and practical aspects which can cause loneliness in older genrerations.
This photos shows people playing a classic Boal game called 'Columbian Hypnosis'. Pairs take it in turns to lead each other by the palm of their hand.
This was an activity in a series of sessions for women at Kabeela, a rural women's association in Zinare, Burkina Faso, where I was placed for a year as a volunteer. Together we used theatre to explore topics of their choice which were a concern in their community including infant and maternal health and young women dropping out of education.
Using my French, youth work experience and drama skills I led a day of training for volunteers with the Burkinabe Red Cross on their project "Protection et education des jeunes filles aides familiales". The project was designed to support and educate young women who left rural communities to become domestic servants in city families, often leaving education to do so.
We began by co-creating strategies to address issues they were facing in the group, including the challenges of leading groups of mixed ages, with low level French and no reading skills.
I was able to share kinaesthetic youth work activities and show how drama can be used to learn, by leading a workshop on how to explore sexual health rights through drama.
Forum theatre is a fantastic way to understand an issue, showing how oppression affects individuals. and I employed my drama skills as an educator for the British Red Cross over 11 years.
Highlights included delivering a series of workshop with two groups of 6th Form Drama Students in Highcliffe School to understand the mechanics of forum theatre and create a forum play to be performed in local primary schools. The play showed how a student with refugee status was bullied, and the groups came up with practical things to do if you witness bullying.
With Inspired Action volunteers, we created a forum piece based on their experiences of applying to volunteer with the British Red Cross as a young disabled person. The play portrayed a fictional scene of bad practice in an interview with a disabled volunteer. The audience of youth workers were asked what one of interviewers could do to challenged the bad practice and non-inclusive attitude of their colleague. This led to the young people showing their perspective on how they would like to be interviewed and supported as a volunteer.
After a day of devising with people living with HIV about the stigma they experience, a simple forum play was created about discrimination in the workplace. This script was taken to Bournemouth and Poole College and perfomed by participants, as part of a workshop about HIV.
Over the period of 6 sessions we explored our experiences of discovering, hiding, and embracing our identity in a world that doesn't always support us.
The final forum piece focused on homophobia in schools, with the group's experience being that teachers were either not challenging homophobia or actually supporting it. The play incorporated a staff room scene where fellow teachers were faced with the problem of how best to challenge the homophobic views of a senior colleague.
We performed at the Diversity Conference at Poole Lighthouse for students and teachers from many schools across Bournemouth and Poole. Together we discovered strategies to challenge homophobia in teachers and peers, and what schools can do to support LGBT+ students.