Here’s a short review of what we got up to at the Platforma Festival in Manchester last November. We hope you’ll accept our apologies for the delay in getting this posted.
In November 2013 World Spirit travelled to Manchester to perform as part of the Platforma Festival. The event brought a wide range of community groups and campaigns together and we felt very lucky to be presenting our work amongst such great organisations and individuals.
After a long journey from Glasgow to Manchester, one of the group members parents, Katie, kindly opened her doors for 11 people to stay for the night. Following a good nights sleep, the group was full of energy for the day ahead! The room provided for World Spirit was perfect for the performance we’d been invited to present and there were about 30 people who came to see the play as part of the festival.
The play we performed – “The Roundabout” – looked into some of the issues faced by asylum seekers who are trapped in the current asylum system created by the UKBA. The performance was well received and the audience said they really loved how the performers ‘truly reflected’ experiences of what asylum seekers go through while seeking asylum. The play aroused strong emotions and brought some members of the audience to tears at certain points within the play. The audience said they thought the play was very ‘powerful’ and moving as it reflected true emotions and scenes from what an asylum seeker would go through.
The second part of the play involved audience participation (forum-ing), and so our Joker, Isabel, facilitated 2 interventions and long discussions around these interventions with audience members. One of the interventions concentrated on how asylum seekers could receive help from different community groups to help with their mental heath condition and for additional support. World Spirit was allocated an hour for the workshop, so we didn’t manage to cover all the different possible interventions but we were able to have some long and interesting discussions with the audience. The asylum process, what happens when you claim asylum, problems faced in UK and many other topics were raised by the audience.
After the performance, we had a great lunch organised by Platforma Festival and cooked by community groups in Manchester. We were very happy to meet people who were passionate about working with the community for social change and in creative workshops. Attending ‘How music can support the rehabilitation of war and torture survivors? Stone Flowers: a case study’ was a great and informative experience. Using musical instruments and walking together to create music was really fun!Overall, the festival was great fun and highly rewarding. Getting positive feedback from the audience and creating a space for discussions allowed the audience and the performers to exchange information about past experience and about how we can work with the community together for future development.
World Spirit would like to thank Platforma Festival for the great event and different workshops which showed problems faced by refugees living in UK and the great work done by different community projects across the country. We hope to return to the Platforma Festival again in the coming year.
World Spirit are celebrating after their second successful schools project with students at Shawlands Academy in Glasgow this week. Working with two groups of 3rd year students (with about 25 students in each group) over 2 days, World Spirit performed a revised-version of Rami and Janet inspiring discussion and participation on the issues faced by asylum seekers as well as the problem of intolerance in our communities.
During the workshop and the performance of the play students were shy to begin with but as they understood the method of forum theatre, soon they enjoyed taking action to change the fate of Rami and Janet!
The play follows two young people – Janet a young local girl with a protective father, and Rami a young asylum seeker whose family is under threat of forced-removal – as they fall in love (albeit young love) but struggle to navigate the intolerant attitudes of their friends and family. Eventually due to the pressures of those around them they separate, there-by further intrenching segregation within the community.
After performing the play once with the above outcome, students got a second chance to watch the play and to intervene when they observed behaviour or actions which they didn’t agree with.
During the interventions, the students recognized and attempted to change the lack of dialogue between the parents of Rami and Janet. The students thought both families needed to understand each other to breakdown barriers of hatred. Trying to communicate and create a safe space for dialogue was the main message offered by the students.
It was positive to see students acknowledging how negative images from the media can affect peoples thinking of asylum seekers and how, as a society we should be critical of certain news sources.
At the end of the play, the students were given post-it notes to write down any thoughts about the format of forum theatre and if they had enjoyed the play. Here are some comments from the students:
“The play was really enlightening and i really enjoyed it. The audience participation was good and gave a chance to give our opinions.”
“The play was interesting and informative”
“Getting involved made it more exciting”
“It was good having people get involved”
” I found the play very helpful”
World Spirit appreciates the opportunity given by Shawlands Academy to show what asylum seekers ‘really’ go through while seeking safety in the UK and the problems they face.
Pinar, performing in the role of Janet, and a former Shawlands Academy student said of the workshop:
“Seeing students who were able to identify the problems asylum seekers could face was very interesting as this shows the younger generation is understanding the meaning of an asylum seeker and how they are not [just] coming to take any benefits or houses but for a better life for their future!”
Come along and tell all your pals!!!!!
APRIL 11th, 2013 @The SUBCLUB (Glasgow)
= PB 5 : First Birthday Party =
Mia Dora [High Sheen / Moda Black]
MermaidS LIVE [Mount Heart Attack]
All Proceeds go to the World Spirit Forum Theatre.
Poster artwork by Mila T-Y.
(Says Philanthrobeats: ” In February we collaborated with Rubix and hosted one of the most memorable parties that Sub Club has ever seen. They have since been slightly perplexed as how to top it, but we’re going to give it a shot as we are so indebted to all who helped and showed up.
Philanthrobeats started almost exactly 1 year ago from now, so we thought it only natural to host this event in celebration of all the hard work you guys have put into making what we do possible. Everyone from PRs, to bakers, to artists to the revellers that fill our dancefloor – this is a party for you!
To commemorate such an event, and to say thank you, we have decided to arrange a very special treat – we’re taking you to the theatre!
Well, kind of…
Our theatre is the Sub Club and there definitely won’t be an interval – fire alarm permitting. To coincide with a joint project we are launching with the World Spirit Forum Theatre, we felt it was only apt to focus production on the intimate, versatile, and unique atmosphere that the theatre is known for. We don’t want to give too much away, but if you have been to any of our events in the past you’ll know that we’ll try our very best to make this something special.
Oh, and it’s our birthday, so expect balloons. Lots of balloons.”)
World Spirit Forum Theatre:
Mila T-Y: http://www.empty-y.tumblr.com/
Mia Dora: https://soundcloud.com/mia-dora