Each year Voice Arts Trust delivers a drama-based refugee youth project. This year, in partnership with ChangeMakers Refugee Forum and with support from UNESCO, the focus has been on ‘the positive contributions that people with refugee backgrounds make to family, community and society’. Eight young people were supported to explore ideas of who they are inspired by and who they are proud of in their community. Each chose one person to create a narrative, poem or drama about and these eight stories are being weaved together into a short film approx 8 minutes in duration. The cultural make up of the group was Somali, Sudanese, Afghani and Colombian. To view the short film click here.
Voice Arts Trust was invited by the Museum of Wellington to facilitate the creation of a performance piece that would support the community led exhibition “Death and Diversity” and further engage the various communities involved.
The project was characterised by a tremendous diversity amongst the participants across age, culture, gender, religious belief and experience of theatre making. Over a six-month period the group researched, devised and then performed a 40-minute performance in the gallery space at the Museum of Wellington City and Sea. All the material came from the actor’s own research and much of the writing was also that of the participants. “At Circle’s End” was performed to sold-out audiences during a six-show season in late November.
Pablos Art Studio provides people who have experience of mental illness with free materials, tuition and support to make art. Voice Arts Trust delivered a number of drama-based workshops to willing and interested artists. Our aim was to provide artists with an experience of a creative process driven by the voice and body, to encourage new forms of self-expression and build confidence. Here is some feedback from the participants:
- I felt my brain stretch for the first time in four years. It was a chance to try new things.
- It was a safe place to take a risk.
- I felt more accepted here at Pablos. I think it accelerated the process of feeling part of the Pablos group.
- It has helped me bring more ideas to the studio, I have more spontaneous ideas to work on.
‘Everyone has a Story’ was an exhibition of artwork by tenants living in City Council housing complexes. To complement the art, Voice Arts Trust was asked to create written profiles for a number of key artists, along with an audio profile which further explored their inspirations, motivations and the role art plays in their lives. Visitors to the exhibition could access these audio profiles via a listening post, providing the public with an intimate connection to the artists and the work they were viewing.
Voice Arts Trust delivered a short series of story-telling workshops for tenants from Wellington City Council’s Te Ara Hou Flats. Our aim was to encourage and support participation in the creation of a mosaic that sought to reflect and honour the histories and futures of individual tenants, families and the collective.
The purpose of this project was to support four young people from the Maori and Somali community to develop skills in leadership and communication so they could step into the role of “audience host” for performances of the community theatre work “Crossing Lines.”
The four were mentored in the skills needed to support and encourage their community to reflect on the performance, to further engage with the dialogue presented and to genuinely respond to the work. Group workshops, held in the performance space, sought to develop the skills required, to build relationships between the group, to develop an understanding of the performance work and the questions being raised by the actors.
Phase One was free weekly drama classes for refugee youth which ran October 2010 – February 2011. These classes were used to build capacity amongst the youth with the aim of nurturing a core group who would move on to phase two of the project.
Phase Two is the creation of an original performance work that will be presented to the wider Wellington community at the World Refugee Day carnival held every year. At this point a number of theatre professionals will be invited to offer mentoring and support to the core group.
Phase Three will see the performance recorded and edited into a DVD which, with the script, will be circulated to schools and agencies nationwide in an effort to engage further debate around the refugee experience and foster greater understanding of refugee issues.
10 young people, identified by teachers and parents as needing additional support to build confidence and improve behaviour were selected for this project. They met weekly with a theatre facilitator from Voice Arts Trust and introduced to a range of games and exercises designed to challenge and enjoy. Workshops focused on building confidence and self-esteem amongst the participants while encouraging new forms of emotional expression and social engagement with other children.
This project offered a rare and unique opportunity for five young people with refugee backgrounds to be guided through the process of creating, developing and producing their own radio dramas for broadcast on Radio New Zealand National in celebration of World Refugee Day 2010.
The foundation of this project was individual workshops with a skilled arts-facilitator; the aim was to nurture new forms of self-expression and to support the creative exploration and development of each participant’s story of choice. The result is five unique and very different stories exploring themes of loss, separation, re-birth, true love, and misunderstanding. The stories aired on Radio New Zealand National 21st June – 25th June 2010 and are now part of RNZ’s permanent on-line collection. This project was funded by The Department of Labour.