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The Complete Freedom of Truth - Youth Theatre and the Creative Arts (Phase 2)
Start date: Apr 30, 2015, End date: Apr 29, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Opera Circus has run projects with budgets of over a million and a half, organised large community and youth projects worldwide, led international tours of opera productions, delivered successful cultural projects both with EU funding and with international producers and has a history of partnership development and commitment to youth empowerment and advocating for inclusion and equality in society. In 2009 Opera Circus began to develop a long term series of youth and school's exchanges, cultural and arts programmes between Dorset UK and the Srebrenica region. Participants from these communities realised that they had many of the same problems. High youth unemployment, 67% in Srebrenica, 27% in Dorset, very low wages when jobs were found, no higher educational facilities nearby, difficulty in finding somewhere to live in the same area due to cost and a sense of isolation from the rest of the world due to living in semi rural and rural environments. Young people in these communities can also suffer from high levels of abuse, poverty, crime, drug and alcohol related problems. In Srebrenica, there is the hangover from the genocide and high levels of PTSD. As a result of this need a number of partners in the UK began to develop projects together with partners through the work of Opera Circus in the Balkan region. One of the projects was, Simply Human, the final event in the highly successful EU Cultural Project Wake Up. This led to a number of other youth projects both in Srebrenica and Dorset including and a youth in action job shadowing programme linking youth centres. As a result of this learning process along with the current economic and political climate in Europe, Opera Circus suggested to the partners and participants, a new programme of work. The Complete Freedom of Truth - Youth Theatre and the Creative Arts, is a long term process designed to use cultural and arts activities to provide skills training and cultural awareness for young people by developing their own creativity. The project aims to raise consciousness and encourage a vision of an equal, inclusive and truly democratic society. The project will be led through a process of youth exchanges and youth workers mobility and with non formal learning at its heart. Combining the highest quality of cultural and arts practice, inspired and facilitated by highly gifted and experienced partners, practitioners and artists, will lead to the establishment of an international network of socially engaged young cultural leaders and organisations with last-long impact locally, nationally and internationally. As well as 6 extraordinary European partners, we have also invited 5 UK organisations to take part in TCFT phase 2. The UK has a reputation for being highly advanced in influencing inclusion, social disadvantage and disability through non formal cultural and arts activities and we are keen to share the UK experience with our partners and to learn from them. There are 12 partner organisations in total raging from youth centres, youth theatre groups, a university, leading international cultural organisations, a city and local authorities making TCFT a unique, exciting and robust melting pot of expertise, knowledge and disciplines. TCFT will work directly with 180 young people, 24 group leaders and 48 youth workers over the 24 months period in a combination face-to-face meetings and ongoing online training. Young people involved in the project are socially disadvantaged and TCFT will work directly with at least 70 disabled young people. The numbers above reflect the individuals engaging directly with the project, many more will be impacted via the work of partners, youth workers and young people locally. Furthermore, we estimate a significant reach to new audiences in every country TCFT operates in via partners’ websites and networks, TCFT Online Platform and public events. OC is delighted to welcome its first Romanian EU partner. With Romania becoming a full member of the EU, it is important that we can contribute to the spread of knowledge, culture and history that surrounds this beautiful country, helping to combat the current spread of racism and xenophobia connected with their people. Our programme partners in Serbia and Bosnia have also taught us about their countries and we have learned a great deal from our active engagement with their cultures since 2004. Cultural awareness, tolerance, inclusiveness, deeper learning, understanding of the other, is at the heart of this creative process. And partners from Italy, Portugal and Georgia adds more expertise, commitment and diversity to TCFT. "Culture generally and music and the arts specifically support the creation of environments for tolerance and understanding within divided communities.” Francois Matarasso.
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