Acting for Change was a peace and reconciliation programme delivered by Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company and supported by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund, through the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation – PEACE III – managed by County Louth Peace and Reconciliation Partnership. The programme was delivered between May and September 2014 in County Louth and the border region, and used theatre and dance workshops, performances and post-show discussions to promote anti-racism, anti-sectarianism, cultural diversity and equality for all, in a fun and enjoyable way. The project consisted of a series of free theatre and dance workshops, as well as symposiums with schools, youth and community groups, and was delivered to 535 different participants. WORKSHOP PROGRAMME From May to September 2014, Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company drama facilitators Fiona Bawn Thompson, Maria McBride, Jenny Thompson, Idan Meir, Gillian Hackett and Sinead O’Loughlin worked with 456 young people across Louth and the border region as part of an in-school and youth group programme. Students participated in drama and movement workshops exploring equality, identity, racism and sectarianism. Groups taking part included Dundalk Youth Arts Festival, St Patrick’s College, De La Salle College, SELB Youth Group, St Patrick’s PS, Brownlow Community Hub, MAD Youth Theatre, Ardee Community School, Ballymakenny College, Drogheda Grammar School, St Clare’s PS, St Mary’s College, St Anthony’s PS, St Joseph’s Secondary School, and O’Fiaich College. THEATRE SYMPOSIA AND PERFORMANCES During September, Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company delivered two theatre symposium days, followed by performances of Uprising and Thou Shalt Not Kill, along with post-performance discussions. These symposia included drama workshops for the purpose of exploring issues related to anti-sectarianism and anti-racism, equality, identity, and diversity. The symposia also included a professional theatre performance of Thou Shalt Not Kill and Uprising, which helped to highlight the issues and explore possibilities for the future. The Troubles seen through the eyes of the rap, hip-hop, dance generation, Uprising juxtaposes stories from the past with contemporary music and rap in an epic, cutting-edge, multi-disciplinary production fusing text, movement, compelling pop-music, modern dance and the rapping of ancestral voices. Uprising is scripted by Tara McKevitt and Directed by Mary Moynihan. Thou Shalt Not Kill is an installation of ‘living theatre’ performances exploring themes of conflict, trauma and hope. Using the body as a site of performance, memory and emotion, and centring on The Troubles, Thou Shalt Not Kill imagines the future through a remembrance of things past. Thou Shalt Not Kill consists of Crossings written by Paul Kennedy and directed by Mary Moynihan, Thou Shalt not Kill written by Paul Kennedy and directed by Bairbre Ni Chaoimh and Depth of My Being, a movement piece devised by Mary Moynihan and Fiona Bawn-Thompson, based on text from Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Crossings tells the story of Tom, a man with a troubled past who is forced to confront his history and his violent past. Thou Shalt Not Kill tells the story of Alice, a Protestant woman who recalls her doomed romance with a Catholic man during her youth. Both Crossings and Thou Shalt Not Kill are based on original research and interviews carried out by Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company. On September 13th, a cross-border symposium for adults took place in An Táin Arts Centre in Dundalk, with workshops in Wellington Hall and Dundalk Outcomers, with facilitators Idan Meir and Jenny McDonald, and a performance of Thou Shalt Not Kill and Uprising, along with a post-performance discussion with good relations facilitator Deirdre Blakely, the performers, and Company Manager Freda Manweiler. A theatre symposium for young people also took place on September 29th in the Barbican Centre and Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda, and included a participative drama and movement workshops with Gillian Hackett and Fiona Bawn-Thompson, a performance of Thou Shalt Not Kill and Uprising, and a post-performance discussion with good relations facilitator Deirdre Blakely, Project Outreach Co-ordinator Sinead O’Loughlin and Company Manager Freda Manweiler. 79 participants attended the youth and adult symposium workshops and following performances and discussions.
RESOURCESSmashing Times Theatre and Film Company has developed a series of workshop models and used some of these during Acting for Change. The company can provide support and advice on using these models, planning and designing services around the accessible use of drama, and how to continue using drama and theatre to promote participation and active citizenship. For further details and support, contact the Smashing Times Company Manager, Freda Manweiler.
PROJECT FUNDERActing for Change was supported by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund, through the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation PEACE III Programme managed by County Louth Peace and Reconciliation Partnership.