Theatre Węgajty. Fieldwork Project
11-042 jonkowo     węgajty 18     phone/fax: (0048-89) 5129297     art director: wacław sobaszek    
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theater pedagogy in action


description of the project

The Polish countryside is an area where children have limited possibilities for contact with culture, with other groups of children or with activities different than the ones proposed by schools. This under-privilege becomes a source of underestimation, educational problems, and sometimes crimes and addictions. Because of these problems, we wish to compensate for the lack of good infrastructure, using existing resources to improve children's development. The need for such compensation becomes even stronger as new problems, resulting from dynamic social and cultural changes, arise with each age-group of children and youth.

Theatre, the preparing of performances, the process of group work, the playing of roles and the experience of being on a stage in front of the audience, can exert a great influence on the development of personality. It may awaken interests and release fears and complexes. The experience of theatrical work in a youth can be so strong that it stays in her memory for her whole life. (or, the experience of theatrical work in youth can be so strong that it remains in the memory forever.)

The use of this tool in educational work is not easy, because it demands the ability to join artistic and pedagogic skills with therapeutic knowledge. In our project we are trying to encourage culture animators, educators, and artists to cooperate for the children's good.

The main activities of the project "Theatre Pedagogy in Action" are artistic workshops for children. They are based on techniques of education through art, especially through theatre. The theatrical workshops are complemented by workshops of visual art, music and handicraft, which have also therapeutic and pedagogic values, and by integration activities. They are realized:

- by theatrical, music and visual artists
- in cooperation with educators (workers of children's clubs, school educators etc.)
- in consultation with social-therapists.

The basic organizational rule of the workshops is that communication, coordination and exchange are the main conditions of effective activities. It is realized through:

- seminar "Theatre Pedagogy in action" for educators and representatives of non-government organizations interested in the project. The aim of such a meeting is a description by educators of their needs, expectations and actual problems, and a presentation of the offer of artistic activities
- meetings and exchanges between particular children's groups
- the presence of children's activities in their social environment (useful activities!)
- culmination of the activities during events in which the whole community participates

The workshops are organized as coordinated sessions of workshops, taking place parallel in particular day-rooms. Culminating each session are meetings of the children's groups or presentations of the workshop's results to the local community, such as shows, exhibitions, little performances.

Examples of workshop sessions:

- "fine art in the kitchen" - making artistic honey-cakes for Christmas
- going carolling (preparation of carolling performance based on different regional traditions from Warmia and other areas of Poland and Ukraine, building of props, theatrical exercises)
- building of lanterns and parade
- building and performing with puppets
- traditional dances of Europe (learning of simple dances from Lithuania, Poland, Britain and others)
- ceramics
- mask-making
- drumming, rhythmical exercises
- learning to stilt-walk

At the end of the project we will present the results of all workshops during The Theatre Celebration.



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