‘Beyond Borders and Boundaries’, Acting Now’s winning project at the first Cambridge Soup, has come to life and its result will be performed by the participants of the workshop again as a Forum theatre performance during Refugee Week.
At Cambridge Soup, organised last February by Allia, Marina went head to head with three other pitchers to share her idea in front of an audience from the local community, and she won. Her project, based on a Forum Theatre workshop aimed at raising awareness about the refugee injustice, has now been implemented in partnership with Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum.
The participants had different backgrounds and nationalities and hold various theatrical experience – from professional actors to first timers. But, they all had in common a desire to explore the possibilities and options that each of us as individuals and also as part of a wider society have to raise awareness and to take action about the refugee injustice.
“It has been a creative, intense and beautiful collective creation. It has made me realise that the answers are not obvious or easy, but we will only be able to take positive steps through collaboration and empowerment if we act together. It is very necessary that the conversation about refugees doesn’t stop and we need to turn it into action.” Dina, one of the atendees to Beyond Borders and Boundaries.
After an introduction to Forum theatre, they practiced group techniques such as Image theatre, where participants rapidly sculpt their own or each others’ bodies to express attitudes and emotions. Later, the participants sat down and talked about the refugee situation. It was an honest discussion in which attendees shared different stories that their family or people around them had experienced.
The group, divided in two teams, was then challenged to select some of those memories to create a performance about a refugee situation. They started with a handful of powerful images represented statically with their bodies, that then placed together and ‘dynamised’ them. The result was two powerful performances about the same topic but from different perspectives: whereas one showed the problem of a family who has to leave their home and gets separated during the process, the other one reflected on the limited help that people visiting refugee camps can give, as they have to continue with their day to day lives after the trip.
As part of the Forum theatre technique, all members were challenged to analyze the problems raised in the stories, adding changes and suggesting different endings. However, not solving the conflicts, but reflecting on how the situations could improve adding small yet important changes. The participants found interesting how it seemed easy giving their opinion towards the resolution of a problem, but it was actually hard when they had to come to the stage to apply changes in the story by playing one of the characters.
During Refugee Week, which will start on June 20th, participants from Beyond Borders and Boundaries will represent their performances in front of an audience at Museum of Cambridge. Everyone will be able to join the discussion and to suggest alternative endings for both stories, by discussing and coming up to the stage to play a carácter.