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Acting Up
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: Nov 27, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Acting Up was a Training Programme for youth workers and young people aged 18+. It aimed to show how drama methods could be used in international youth work, especially in youth exchanges. Crooked House (Irl), with Rogaland Teater (Norway), Le Grand Bleu (France), Peirama (Greece) and Hellenic Theatre/Drama Education Network (Greece) selected 50 participants to work from 5th - 12th July in Ireland on the training programme. Each organisation knew each other's work and have been involved in a number of projects together for the past five years. This was the first time all of them have worked together in this configuration. The participants were volunteers and youth leaders in each organisation who wanted to learn more about using drama techniques in their work with young people. The training showed different methods of theatre that can be used effectively with young people. There were 3 modules, or 'methods', and 3 workshops. The modules occurred every afternoon and consisted of the same group for the week (participants chose which module to explore at the start of the week). The workshops were repeated every day in the morning and participants could sign up for a different one each day. The modules were therefore more in-depth and comprehensive while the workshops were introductory taster-type sessions for that particular technique. Module 1: Using Theatre of the Oppressed methods with young people. This methods focused on questions of social justice, equality and marginalisation, and showed how the technique could be used to help people explore such issues in dramatic form. Module 2: Devising material for site-specific presentation Participants were shown how to use the environment around them as stimuli for generating stories, situations and problems for their young people. The work focused on using a mix of non-verbal, filmic images along with structured scenes with dialogue and characters. It was performed - and inspired by - school settings. Module 3. Using movement as a language of expression and exploration in work with young people. The group explored how we can use various forms of group and individual movement to create short scenes which raise awareness of issues the group feels strongly about. They looked at integrating music with the movement, and explored how to set these pieces in spaces that are not theatres (school classrooms, public toilets, small rooms etc). Workshop 1: Using red-nose clown techniques Using small red noses, and a sense of comic possibilities, the workshop showed how to help participants non-verbally explore often serious issues using the comic mask of the red nose. Workshop 2: Introduction to devising Participants were shown a number of strategies to stimulate young people's exploration of their own experiences; ways in which they could share their lives in a safe and critical way through the structures of devised performance. Workshop 3: Introduction to improvisation Participants learned tips and techniques for improvisation, including how to manage role-plays and how to support character creation with young people. On the final evening they showed, to the public, short performances of work derived from their week's exploration. There was discussion and reflection with the audience after each one, focusing on the issues raised in the presentation. Throughout the week, participants presented to each other pre-prepared creative expressions (short performances, mini-workshops, and creative talks) of their own work in their particular country. Integrated into the programme were reflection sessions, where participants considered the learning that had occurred for them so far. In these sessions, they also reflected on short presentations about learning itself, and about the use of drama for youth development. These presentations were delivered in short, discussion based sessions by professions in the field. All of the participants were offered a youth pass certificate at the end of the programme.
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