IN SITU training on site-specific theatre
Site-specific theatre, and particularly its use in a socially engaged artistic context is a very exciting tool to use, interrogate. It has the potential, through its direct engagement with space and local context, of enabling (young) people to re-imagine their situations, take ownership of their surroundings and discover hidden possibilities within themselves and their neighbourhoods.
The training had two segments an online part-time pre-departure training conducted via artescommunity.eu which took place from the 23 March – 3 April and an eight day long residential training in Budapest, Hungary 11 – 18 April. Full participation in both elements was mandatory as the online training served as a base for the residential part.
The training combined trainers and participants coming from different backgrounds to allow IN-SITU to act as a platform for peer-learning, sharing of international practice and foster collaboration which will have multiple outcomes in methodology, projects and the professional development of the participants. The residential training was facilitated by Belgian dramaturge Bart Capelle and Hungarian director Marta Schermann with support of organisers from Artemisszio Alapitvány and Makeshift Ensemble.
20 Youth workers, activists and theatre artists working with young people or in another social context were participating from Hungary, Ireland, Serbia, Czech Republic, France, Italy with an interest in working with urban communities. The training was designed for people with some prior experience who would like to expand their skills and who are interested in combining innovative theatre approaches with youth or social work to expand their tools and their possibilities in both fields.
The venue was Gólya that is a community based pub and social centre in the 8th district, the most multicultural and at the same time marginalised district of Budapest. The place and the neighbourhood served as the site where the group could experience the methodology and could investigate and observe the process of gentrification. It is a very current issue there – making the local poor people leave by “pushing them out” in various manners, while, at the same time, there are good initiatives such as the creation of alternative communities like Gólya cooperative. Some members of the Collective for Critical Urban Research made a presentation and a discussion to understand the local context with the participation of members from Gólya.
“Gólya is an experiment that provides an alternative in the cultural life of Budapest on how to maintain a social and cultural forum for a long time. The goal of the cooperation is to transform from a simple social area that allows an existing medium to meet, to a community house that serves the district not only as a passive space, but something that actively shapes it surrounding. The long term goal of Gólya for it’s example to spread throughout the country and form a national network of community houses. Working with other socially critical organisations, we can become an objective social power that has the ability to have a real impact on the society surrounding us.” (from the official mission of Gólya)
The participants learnt about collaboration across sectors; the challenges and opportunities in working in an urban public space; approaches to site-specific theatre; the use of site-specific methodology with young people as well as an understanding of an anthropological approach to public space. The participants developed their own solutions and methodologies during the training, appropriate to their individual backgrounds based on a question based study process.
At the end of the training a work in progress presentation was held and a Q&A in Gólya. About the whole week you can see a short video here: