Acting Diversity

The Project

A Project of Intercultural Theatre for Political Refugees and Young by Teatro dell'Argine
in partnership with Al-Harah Theater and Badac Theatre Company
October 1st 2012 – September 30th 2013
With the support of Anna Lindh Foundation - www.annalindhfoundation.org
 
Acting Diversity is 3 artistic and cultural organizations in Italy, Palestine and the United Kingdom, but also asylum seekers, political refugees, migrants and young people from all over the world.
Acting Diversity is 2 intercultural theatre workshops with asylum seekers, political refugees, migrants and young people who will give life to 2 final shows about such issues as interculture, racism, migration, citizenship and human rights.
Acting Diversity is 2 theatre festivals, 3 different local communities in 3 Countries of the Euro-Mediterranean area and 1 network of institutions, associations, organizations and people working in social, educational, cultural and artistic fields.
Acting Diversity is 3 exchange workshops between professional artist working not only in theatrical contexts, belonging to Teatro dell’Argine (Italy), Al-Harah Theater (Palestine), Badac Theatre Company (United Kingdom) in order to find new ways for Art and Civil Society.
Acting Diversity is Theatre acting as cultural, social and educational tool, useful to foster intercultural dialogue, active promotion of diversity, for the development of a more integrated, democratic and inclusive society.
 
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Origins

Background and context
After all the events during 2011 in North Africa and Middle-East, the challenges that migrants and, above all, asylum seekers and political refugees throw to EuroMed Countries, are more and more high and exciting. But, also, the conflict level is increasing, in cities and suburbs of the welcoming Countries, in political as well as in social life. Public and private institutions are increasingly wondering about welcoming procedures dealing not only with mere subsistence. Learning and spreading mutual understanding and intercultural dialogue is more and more important: in this field, theatre and the arts can provide helpful tools, consisting in body language, incitement of sensibility and creativity, exchange and teamwork which are keywords in the theatrical work.
 
Project Origin
Since 2005, reflexion and theatrical work on and with asylum seekers and political refugees is part and parcel of TdA’s project. The Company acts in an area that strongly needs different interventions on behalf of hosting, in general, migrants and, particularly, political refugees. For TdA the reflexion is double: cultural-artistic and social.
On the one hand, the wealth, spurs, creativity and diversity of perspectives, which a multicultural company brings on, if compared to a monocultural one, are incredible: working with people having different cultures, religions, experiences, opinions, entails that each member of the group, professional or non-professional, can learn and experiment new theatrical skills and exercises, dances, music, approaches, methods, emotions and masks.
On the other hand, Emilia-Romagna Region and other social, educational and political institutions, are more and more trying to involve TdA and other organizations which lead development and community projects that could be really useful during reception and integration, providing migrants with more than just food and lodging. So, it’s very important for TdA to be constantly updated about the real situation of migrants and refugees in the Euro-Mediterranean area, to better understand the people with whom the Company is working, in order to be ready to what they bring with themselves.
In this direction, Badac Theatre and Al-Harah Theater have introduced themselves as perfect partners for TdA. Both have cooperated several times with our company in different projects: co-production of shows, European projects, drama workshops, network activities; always mixing social and artistic purposes. As previously mentioned, Badac Theatre has a long experience on using theatre to work on human rights issues, and has produced workshops and shows on domestic violence, mental illness, social exclusion, Holocaust, and on the situation in Palestine: very burning issue for all the EuroMed area. Al-Harah Theater has a long experience on production of shows and workshops for the referential communities: children’s activities inside the refugees camps, created to help the community, through theatre, to feel stronger and more peaceful, and seek to reduce the deep sense of social insecurity permeating it.
It’s been natural for TdA to seek and develop its own intercultural work with the help of these two partners, both very engaged in the respective fields of action and competence, very different from one other as concerns social context and expected beneficiaries, both aware of the situation of their own countries and very determined to work towards a possible change and to obtain something new from one another.

Aims

General Objectives
Contributing to intercultural dialogue and the promotion of diversity as tools for cooperation, social cohesion and inclusion, encouraging artistic exchange and cultural creativity, also through community's involvement and mobilization, to strengthen the sense of rights and citizenship.
 
Specific Objectives
Encouraging active participation and teamwork of migrants, asylum seekers, political refugees, young people, theatre students and professionals, in experimenting informal learning methods, in order to stimulate their involvement in public life and to create spaces for individual expression and social participation; promoting teamwork oriented to the dialogue between different people, in order to know different cultures, religions, traditions and personal life experiences; fighting stereotypes, widespread in the public opinion, about migrants; fostering the diffusion of culture and art as work tools to favour intercultural dialogue; improving cooperation and the exchange of practices and artistic methods, to be applied also in informal education in the EuroMed area, by sustaining, among other things, transnational mobility of cultural operators.

Activities

Main activities:

1) Two intercultural theatre workshops held by directors and playwrights of TdA in Italy:

  • the first includes migrants, asylum seekers, political refugees and young people, aged 18 to 35;
  • the second includes young people and students, aged 18 to 25;

2) International exchange of artistic methods:

  • the artists of Al-Harah Theater (Palestine) and those of Badac Theatre Company (United Kingdom) will take part in both the Italian theatre workshops with two intensive work sessions. Not only the workshop participants will be involved in the intensive sessions, but also the professional workers and artists of the Company, in order to facilitate a comparison and an exchange on theories and practices of theatre work about such themes as those implicated in the project; to explore new possible ways for theatre as tool of intercultural dialogue, active citizenship and social inclusion; and, finally, to activate a moment of mutual information and update about the condition of refugees in the so different areas of the 3 partners;
  • during the project period, two TdA artists will be hosted in the partners’ centres, respectively in Palestine and the United Kingdom, to develop similar exchange workshops with artists and operators of the two partner Companies. In the case of Palestine, TdA will meet the artists of Al-Harah Theater and the workers of the refugees camps around Beit Jala, near Bethlehem, headquarter of the Palestinian Company. In the case of England, TdA will meet Badac Theatre Company’s artists, all along committed to human rights, and the girls of St. Albans School, who live and study in high-tension intercultural contexts;

3) Two shows and two final festivals:

  • The workshop with young people and students 18 to 25 years-old will lead to a show premiering in ITC Teatro’s Festival of Schools in May 2013;
  • The workshop with migrants, asylum seekers, political refugees and young people will lead to a show, that will have a preview around June 20th, World Refugee Day, and two performances during the intercultural festival The Scene of Meeting in July 2013;

4) Documentary and guidelines:

  • Project’s activities will be shot and edited in a documentary that will be shown on screen at the end of the project. Moreover, guidelines about obtained results and activated processes will be drawn up and spread on line, in order to share data with anyone who deals with similar paths and themes.

Method

The method behind the Italian workshop is based on active involvement of each group member, on professional competence of the three partners and constant exchange among the theatrical practices, and common moments of discussion about main themes.
The choral work will be led through breathing, voice and body exercises; improvisations on themes related to political asylum, migration, racism, stereotypes on “the stranger”, working with and without music, with and without words, exercises for text creation and storytelling, dramatization of the created materials and so on.
The participants will be invited to lead part of the workshop, to propose exercises, dances and music of their country of origin, in the spirit of peer education and exchange. The participants will also have the possibility to practice other languages, to meet young members with other cultural backgrounds, to improve their artistic and communicative skills.
The same spirit will guide the international artistic methods exchange workshops in Italy, Palestine and United Kingdom, and also the creation of the final shows, which will be elaborated on the base of materials created by the participants.
Moreover, it will be given to the shows’ audience the opportunity to improve knowledge and sensibility by the project themes: a deeper awareness can create a wider comprehension and reduce social conflicts, for a more cohesive and inclusive society.

Guidelines

Download the English Guidelines

Photos

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The Interview

Final Video

Links&Contacts

Teatro dell'Argine
Contact person: Micaela Casalboni
tel.: +39 (0)51 6271604
mobile: +39 339 5460892
 
Al-Harah Theater
 
Badac Theatre Company
 
Anna Lindh Foundation

Teatro dell'Argine Società Cooperativa Sociale | Sede legale via dei Gelsi, 17 | 40068 San Lazzaro di Savena - BOLOGNA | P.I. 02522171202