Svenska ASSITEJ - ASSITEJ Sweden

Making change - a children´s theatre project in Lebanon and Sweden

May 2013 - April 2015
Lebanon and Sweden.

1. The project

The project emphasizes the work by professional theatre practitioners since we believe they have to be empowered and their skills have to be developed. By doing that we are able to pass knowledge and experience of theatre making to children and young people. It also allows networking between artists from Sweden and Lebanon.

The project contributes towards a better understanding and acceptance of the different traditions in our respective parts of the world and in so doing; the project will also strengthen democratic values.

Theatre allows us to explore perceptions different from our own. It deepens our capacity for empathy and enhances emotional intelligence. Theatre arts also develop lifelong skills of communication, critical and creative thinking and problem solving. Theatre has the capacity to speak to young people in ways that reach them, and that allow for transformation of the self.

2. Main activities

Activity 1
Five Lebanese artists attended the Swedish Performing Arts Biennial in Jönköping. The biennial included different kinds of performances for adults and young people. This allowed the artists to watch a variety of performances, meet with artists, and make contacts. This experience was intended to widen their professional network and enhance their knowledge of performing arts.

Activity 2
A workshop session in Lebanon with Swedish trainer. A five days workshop in order to raise the awareness and empower artistst in an area (dramatic writing) related to the theatre for children. This workshop was led by Mia Törnqvist and Marie Persson Hedenius.

Activity 3.1
A Swedish guest performance for children in Lebanon. A touring Swedish play was performed in Beirut for general audience and schools. Some performances was followed by a discussion with the children. The selected play ”Trash” by dance company Memory Wax is of small scale, a dance performance with very little text, and treats a subject that is relevant to the Lebanese society.

Activity 3.2
Two workshop sessions for Lebanese artists led by the Swedish company. Two workshops:

1. A light technical workshop which introduce the participants to some basics about lighting design and the technical work around it. This workshop was led by Imre Zibrik.
2. Memory Wax movement workshop tended to find new ways of moving and working together in a creative setting. With simple and stimulating exercises, Memory Wax Dance Company, worked with movement and breathing that gave the participant a good insight into Memory Wax´s work with dance and theatre. This workshop was led by Johanna Jonasson.

Activity 4.1
A Lebanese guest performance for children participated in festival in Sweden. A Lebanese performance, ”Les Bal de Rêve”, was included in the Bibu the festival, allowing Swedish children and artists to get a glimpse of the Lebanese performing arts for children, and exchange with the company during discussions.

Activity 4.2
A workshop session during the festival for Swedish artists led by the Lebanese company. The workshop, ”The Puppeteer in Motion”, was led by the Lebanese company and addressed to Swedish artists, related to the respective field of expertise of the company. This workshop was led by Karim Dakroub and Lucia Carbone.

A discussion, also organized durng, ”Dramatic writing in Lebanon and Sweden”. In this discussion topics such as artistic and social similarities and differences in Lebanon and Sween were discussed. The discussion was led by Karim Dakroub, Mia Törnqvist and Marie Person Hedenius
Activity 5.
Working sessions and a reading in Beirut led by Swedish dramaturgs/playwrights to develop new plays in Lebanon for childen and youth. This workshop was led by Marie Persson Hedenius.

3. Expected Results

The project emphasized the work by professional theatre practitioners, the project have empowered these professionals and their skills have been developed. The project allowed networking between artists from Lebanon and Sweden for the purposes of cultural exchange.

From previous projects we know that a combination of an exchange of artists on an individual level (visits to festivals) combined with a more formal workshop structure and guest apperances with productions gives a better outcome than solely one of these components. This combination gave participating artists a possibility to participate on a personal level as well as being part of a bigger context.

Altogehter 64 professional artists and students from Lebanon and Sweden have worked together or participated in workshops to raise their capactities and skills, the project gave them possibility to network, exchange ideas and share experiences at one festivals in Sweden - as well as with the guest appareances at the Sunflower Theatre in Beirut.

Individual artists as well as dance- and theatre companies have particpated in the project and we have included, as particpants as well as workshop leaders, persons of different ages and with different experience. This was organized and planned to secure a better sharing of skills and experiences.