Smashing Times welcomed our European partners for an ‘Artists for Civic Action’ meeting in Dublin, from 6-9th February 2013. The project’s aim was to reach active community members who have something to say and were ready to take actions on issues they care about. Civic action is about citizens taking political action. It’s about empowering people by taking peaceful action that impacts on a wider level in society, politically and socially. 24 delegates from Lithuania, Spain, Netherlands, Romania and Bulgaria joined us to share ideas for Civic Actions and to discuss the future of the project. On Friday, Adam Traynor gave our guests a taste of our work when he performed a piece from Shattering Glass, an original Smashing Times production by Gillian Hackett, Mary Moynihan and Paul Kennedy based on memories and experiences of The Troubles in Ireland and Northern Ireland and developed from an extensive period of research, workshops and interviews. Artists for Civic Action was ran by Smashing Times in association with our European Partners. The project was funded by a Leargas Grundtvig Learning partnership, part of the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme 2007-2013, which focuses on education for adults, whether through formal, non-formal or informal methods. During 2013, all participants collected and analysed good practices on how to run an effective civic action; organised trainings based on methodologies developed by Smashing Times; took part in online forum discussions where we shared knowledge and gained experience; ran face to face meetings for the most active and motivated training learners, and organised a civic action in Rotterdam. There were three meetings – in Valencia (Spain), Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Dublin (Ireland) where Smashing Times set up project objectives and planned and discussed project activities. Artists for Civic Action Projects completed by Smashing Times: In April 2012, Smashing Times ran four training sessions to explore the use of creative drama and theatre methodologies to promote Civic Action. Smashing Times Artistic Director Mary Moynihan and Company Manager Freda Manweiler created the training. The workshops took place on 21 and 28 of April 2012 in Temple Bar Studios with over 20 participants from Ireland and Northern Ireland. The first workshop was an ‘Introduction to Civic Action and an exploration of Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed Techniques’ to explore themes facilitated by Smashing Times Artistic Director Mary Moynihan. The second workshops was on ‘The Impact of Augusto Boal’s Forum Theatre on the Spectator’ facilitated by Smashing Times associate artist Kate Harris. The third and fourth workshops were on ‘Identifying a shared issue for Civic Action using Boal’ and ‘Designing a Civic Action’ facilitated by Idan Meir from Combatants for Peace. Smashing Times travelled to Rotterdam, Netherlands in May 2013 to meet with ACT partner organisations from several EU countries to discuss the work. International Day for the Eradication of Poverty International Day for the Eradication of Poverty in October 2012 provided an opportunity to commemorate the voice of the poorest people in society by highlighting the experience of the poor. People were given an opportunity to express their experiences and statistics on poverty were made available. Poverty, in all its forms, formed the focus of all speeches and performances: poverty linked to mental health, economic poverty, child poverty, older people and those affected by the economic downturn. Pied Piper: This civic action highlighted the current situation in Ireland in relation to poverty and the unequal division of wealth. Its aim was to provoke people to think about this inequality and the fact that the current economic situation is driving young people to emigrate. It took the form of a parade led by a pied piper as historically a pied piper led immigrants to the boats to cross the Atlantic. The people in the parade wore costumes; a banker, Marie Antoinette, a politician and the participants carried banners which highlighted the inequalities which are present in society today. Helpers distributed leaflets with information about the civic action and poverty. Techniques Used
- Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed: The civic action used the methods of theatre to engage with an issue of importance.
- Invisible Theatre: The procession emerged from and dispersed through the general public without using words. It impacted on them as an issue of concern for the general public.
- Image Theatre: At the beginning the procession formed and stood still in complete silence for ten minutes. This still image, right in the middle of Dublin’s busy Grafton street, was closely linked to image theatre. The action then took the form of a parade as the costumed performers moved, led by one person playing a tin whistle.