PLAY TO CHANGE! was an international training for youth workers held in Budapest, summer of 2012, financed by the Youth in Action Program of the European Union.
At this international youth meeting on the theme of social inclusion in urban environment, cultural diversity, active participation and mutual learning were core values. The project took place in Budapest and aimed to give specific tools for the participants to develop their inclusion work in cities.
Keywords during the discussions were: inclusion/exclusion, oppression, theatre, social justice, immigration, poverty
The objectives were the following:
-to map of the social realities, the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion
-to empower young people to act against social exclusion
-to create and develop sustainable and innovative activities on an international level to support youth work;
-to create a space for reflection and exchange of creative tools of intervention based on theatre
-to develop intercultural competences and artistic competences of the participants
The training brought together 22 young people from different backgrounds and with varied experiences: activists, youth workers, trainers, volunteers, animators who work with marginalized youth in urban settings. The participants came from bigger and smaller cities of the following countries: UK, Italy, Hungary, Greece, Portugal, Germany, Romania, Spain, Turkey and Cyprus.
The role of the young people participating in the project is to be the multipliers of the experience in their local context and hopefully with their future projects that grows from the network built during the training.
Besides, the reflection groups after the daily activities gave opportunity to the participants to share their feelings in a safe environment, and make proposals that after the reflection the trainers and the organizer shared in the staff meeting and adjusted, changed the program regarding the feedbacks in case it was needed.
The trainers provided different methods as physical, sensorial, forum and image theatre, where the participants could experience the “exclusion practices” and in the same time they had the chance to work on their self-reflection and the aesthetical dimension of the theatrical work. Experimental learning, learning by doing was an important aspect.
The main elements of the program were the following:
– Ice breaking, team building
– Presentation of the European Youth Fund, examples of project forms
– Physical and sensorial theater practices related to the topic
– Introduction to methods of theatre of the oppressed
– Open space for sharing skills and experiences
– “Urban inclusion in action” – Field visit in a Hungarian – German grassroot initiative
– Intercultural night
– Public performance to meet local communities
– Reflection and evaluation time
– Application and future project planning
The training course created an opportunity to experience different methods of the tools of theatre and for the development of artistic competences and social awareness. Participants received impulses and acquired innovative tools of working on urban inclusion with youngsters.
The results include an infopack (provided online) with materials on youth work and theatre arts as tools, with the documentation of the project: photos and a short video.
To conclude, we think that the combination of physical theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed is an effective way to trigger critical thinking, reflection and self-awareness.