Given the continuing political situation in Cyprus, ICC in collaboration with the Rooftop Theatre Group has decided to take theatrical activities one step further and deal with children and their experiences as part of bicommunal groups, more specifically the UNDP summer camps for children and teenagers.
The idea was born when we joined in the Youth Camps Reunion Party on November 4th, 2006, where we conducted a theatre workshop for the kids; we came to realize how enthusiastic the children were, found out about the experiences and stories they were eager to share and therefore decided to extend out activities to this present proposal. These are kids who have gained valuable life lessons through the UNDP youth camps, and the greatest danger is that these lessons will soon fade away and become a distant memory, if they are not enforced or supported. The life lessons of tolerance and understanding many of the kids have taken from the camps will be brought back to life through the multiple activities of the proposed project.
Our project consists of 4 basic stages which will help in the documenting, learning through play, formatting, publishing and staging these experiences. More specifically:
- theatre workshops,
- the production of a play text based on their experiences,
- performance of the play text,
- the publication of the text and distribution to educational institutions,
The project is a theatrical exploration of the experience of children and teenagers in the UNDP-sponsored summer camps.
The entire process will have duration of one year: during the first month, the coordinators of the project will come in contact with youth groups that had organized UNDP-sponsored camps in 2006 and 2005, in order to recruit participants for the workshops. We hope for the help of UNDP facilitators in order to contact the groups.
In early winter 2008, and for around 3 months we will be conducting weekly workshops, where there will be an exploration of their experience through theatre games, improvisations, which will culminate in the writing of a text. The workshops will welcome children between 8 and 12 years old, and also a second group of teenagers of 12-16 years. The text will be a collage of stories –most of which will be from their experience camping- related to various humanitarian themes, but centred around the value of tolerance. Both workshops and play will be bilingual, Greek and Turkish being the main languages spoken, with the occasional use of English for operational reasons.
In the spring, and for about 3 month, the Group will be writing and editing the play text, which will be a collection of the kids’ stories. In the next 2-month period the play will be produced: professional young actors will be hired, a dynamic publicity campaign will be launched in the Media and advertised widely in teacher’s organizations, unions and groups in the communities across the divide.
In early March 2008, the play will be presented before young and older audiences as a way to enlighten Cypriots of these experiences. We plan to present the plays to as many children as possible, both in organized regular performances but also time-and-place specific performances for schools and other groups.
The text of play will be published (languages will be Turkish and Greek) and disseminated to educators with the help of organized groups and educational authorities. For the dissemination of the play text we also plan to organize an open meeting for educators during which we will inform them of the project. Out of this project, we aim at producing a play –published play text and performance-, publishing the text and a memorable experience for the children and all other participants.