Stations – adapting migrant life stories by Forum Theatre

Ariadne – Art for adaptation
The Forum Theater part


In this presentation you can get more information about a part of a specific project, Ariadne, Art and intercultural adaptation. In each partner country other artistic activities were realized with the same aim: to help groups of migrants to feel more home in the host country. At the end of the creative process (described below) a stunning performance took place when the audience got to know life stories of the participants, it was very touchy.I think this method can be very effective with other marginalized groups to share with the majority their everyday life experiences and struggles.

Short introduction
The project aimed to help the adaptation, integration of migrant people to their local context by 7 partner organization in 5 countries. The tools were artistic methods, but each partner had its own choice. In Budapest the process was supported by the tool of drama, especially the methodology of the Theatre of the Oppressed, Forum Theatre. The pedagogical aim was improving personal skills and competences, enhancing critical awareness and self-reflexivity, making new social contacts and networks, articulating migrant’s experiences and representing migrant identities

Project framework and duration
LLP Grundtvig project 01.01.2011. – 31.12.2012.
Link to the website of the project
Project coordinator
Elan Interculturel, France
Partner countries
Artemisszió Foundation (Hungary), Momentum arts (UK), UCM Resarch Group
Art applications for Social Integration: art, therapy and inclusion (Spain), Osmosis (Greece), TAN dance (UK), University of Peloponnese – Departament of Theatre Studies (Greece)
Target group
Mixed group (in this case was migrants and locals, but it might works with minority – majority mix as well)

In order to facilitate social inclusion of participants, the drama/theatre program was designed to achieve objectives in four different but interconnected fields.
I. Improving personal skills and competences:
Different forms of drama games and theatrical exercises facilitate the expansion of psycho-social abilities, improve personal skills and competences
II. Enhancing critical awareness and self-reflexivity
III. Making new social contacts and networks:
First of all the program was designed to contribute to a group and community building process as a basis for cultural expression and identity development. The joy of playing and acting during the drama workshops, and the common goal to create and present a theater performance for a wider public could serve this purpose.
IV. Articulating migrant’s experiences and representing migrant identities
The whole structure of the program and each activity of the theater process (both drama activities and final forum theater performances) were inspired by these objectives.

Project description
The project addressed social isolation, starting from the participants’ personal experience. Criteria deemed important for our understanding of these phenomena included both the emotional circumstances of individuals and existing social structures. Another key aspect was the development of new, satisfactory alternatives to deal with foreignness in a prejudicial and dismissive context. The process was divided in 2 main phases:
1, In the preparatory phase following recruitment, semi-structured interviews were held with all participants.
2. Drama and theater work was a complex process, divided in different stages of activities. Presenting a performance for a wider public at the end of the process was the common goal of the group. This performance was created in a 12-occasion (36 hours) series of drama workshops and theatrical rehearsals. In this process three different forms of drama-work followed each other: drama-workshops, theatrical rehearsals, forum theatre performance.


  1. Aleksander Schejbal

    6 February 2014

    Having read the article I can see how many resemblances there are between Forum Theatre and sociodrama. To the extent that the division is blurred and methodologies overlap.

    Are they really different? Or perhaps Boal and Moreno invented the same thing independently from each other? Or perhaps Forum Theatre is more concerned with art as the drama workshops have to lead to a public performance, and sociodrama is just some sort of healing of societal traumas – the artistic value of the play doesn’t really matter as far as the performers’ spontaneity and creativity lead to “experiential” learning.

    Am I right or confusing things?

  2. György

    21 February 2014

    I think Forum Theatre concentrate more on oppressions. Forum Theatre always analyse situations where a protagonist oppress an antagonist and the antagonist is dependent. If I know well (I never used sociodrama) sociodrama focus more on a personal situations and Forum Theatre use more general stories, situations. But of course the spectator always working from his/her experiences so maybe that is a common thing. In my head sociodrama can be a good method to explore feeling, stories and problems on the personal, individual level what after we can analyse and try to solve with Forum Theatre.

  3. Teresa

    20 August 2014

    Hi Panni,

    this project reminds me of a Grundtvig partnership in which staff and learners in the company I work for participated. The name of the project was “CLEAr – Civic Literacy and European Awareness for Minority Groups”. It was inspired by the European citizenship
    concepts and aimed to build activities to improve the self-esteem and civic awareness of a diversified range of subjects, socially and economically disadvantaged, who
    are suffering especially for reasons derived by their status of “minority” (ethnic, religious).
    The activities included personal development training sessions in a variety of modalities including music, dance and drama, exchange of traditional skills and family involvement, among other modalities.
    I’m going to include details of CLEAr here in ARTES platform as I believe that these of initiatives and projects can be of inspiration and will help build awareness of the great potentialities of the art-forms.

  4. Cinzia

    25 June 2015

    Hi Panni,

    the Station project has been used successfully in Lucca with a group of young migrants!

    The local trainers reported that at the beginning the participants have found difficult to speak about their experiences and the learning path has been adjusted to the situation.

    During the workshop the young participants have been able to communicate and express their need for freedom , which was the main shared sentiment of the whole group.

    It has been very moving to read and alsa share with the members of this group the comments of the participants:

    ” They told me ” your dreams will not get you anywhere . And I am everywhere ”

    ” Do you know why the world is still beautiful ? Because there’s still someone who appreciates you for who you are and not for how you have to be ”

    ” It has been a beautiful moment, young educators with the teenagers have expressed their experiences , expectations and desires ”

    In italiano:

    “Mi dissero “ i tuoi sogni non ti porteranno da nessuna parte. Ed io sono dovunque”

    “Sai perchè il mondo è ancora bello? Perchè c’è ancora qualcuno che ti apprezza per quello che sei e non per come devi essere”

    “E stato un bellissimo momento, giovani educatori insieme ai ragazzi adolescenti hanno espresso le loro esperienze, aspettative e desideri”

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