Since 2014 I have been conducting theater workshops with adolescents in youth care services and facilities. These workshops always result in a full-fledged play that is performed several times in a professional theater setting. The youths who participate don’t have any experience in the theater or with performing when we start. But they do each have a story to tell…
The first phase of each project invariably involves gaining the trust of the participants, and instilling in them the confidence to engage with the other group members and the medium that is the theater. In the second phase we work towards the actual play we will perform. We base the text on newly written and existing material, and on improvisations that center on movement and play.
In this context, I use the theater primarily as a medium to kickstart communication in situations that are often gridlocked. The children get to sample a new language – one that is more physical and less based in text – and they almost invariably find that liberating. It also helps that we’re not performing a play written by a playwright: that would be too alien to these youths. Instead we base the performance on their own words, their own ideas, their own input. That way, these performances are about healing as much as they are about revealing.
These theater plays have often received attention from the press. Here’s an article on Tranenzout, our 2020 production. And in 2022, our play Schaduwwolf got an extensive write-up in the newspaper as well.
Cirkant is an organization that assists children (and their family members) who find themselves in complex and challenging domestic and educational situations. They offer a broad array of different types of support – often creative and always flexible.
De Warande is our partner when it comes to staging our productions. They welcome us in their theater space and provide us with professional technical support.