Thursday, 27 November 2008

Myths, Plans and Crabs at the Bush

It's all gone a bit manic! Kasia took a scratch performance of Destination GB, a show she's devising with current and former students up to he Junction in Cambridge on Tuesday, the company rolled home in the early hours of this morning tired, but happy.

Meanwhile back at base, we're racing against time to submit an Education Partnerships in Africa project grant application to the British Council by Friday's 4pm deadline.

After this morning's Drama in the Community session on Myths and Ritual, where we began exploring the campus as a site for stories, memories, re enactments and rituals I rushed into town to meet with Theatre for a Change's director, Patrick Young and Matt, fresh and tanned having flown in from South Africa yesterday, to go through amendments and beef up the proposal.

It was a very good meeting and the future of our collaboration seems positive. The aim is to send our current first year Applied Theatre students to Malawi in Spring 2011 (their final semester with us) to work on projects with students from Mzuzu University, in the north of the country. The work would look at ways in which interactive theatre projects can promote gender assertiveness and sexual health, advocating strategies for young people to protect themselves from the risk of HIV infection.

Already Matt has begun training the St. Mary's students in Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed techniques, which form the backbone for this work. Initial workshops where the students refine their facilitation technique will take place Richmond Schools in early December.

We also talked a little about exchanging examples of good practice through e.postcards, and video, creating a joint archive of transformative learning moments. This could be a very exciting way of developing projects prior to our arrival in Africa.

The day ended at the Bush theatre where I went to see I Caught Crabs in Walberswick, which has been brought into town by Suffolk touring company, Eastern Angles. Having won some acclaim at the Edinburgh festival last summer.

It's a sweet play about parent child relationships, neatly told by a cast of five young actors, who touchingly recreate the confusion of teenage life, stuck in a seaside town. There wasn't a load to get excited about in the storytelling... but little to knock either. A writer in search of a better plot, perhaps?

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