Five theatre companies plan to cooperate in a one year network with the aim of exploring interactivity in children’s theatre, using the method “theater of the participant”. In the period of August 2018 till March 2019 we will meet to discuss and explore the method together and on this ground establish the network. During this period we will have one meeting in Lithuania and one workshop in Hungary. The work will be documented on an open website.
In collaboration with the Hungarian theatre company Káva Kulturális Műhely, Kompani 13 invites four companies from Nordic-Baltic countries to establish a new network with the aim of exploring interactivity in children’s theatre, using the method “theater of the participant”.
Káva Kulturális Műhely has long experience with this method and has previously cooperated with Kompani 13 in making performances for children built on Henrik Ibsens Peer Gynt. This cooperation was founded by EEA -Grants. Kompani13 made the performance “Peer Gynt - God’s choice”, and Káva made a performance for youth just called Peer Gynt. This collaboration was called “Trip around the onionskin”, and both companies has met several times during the period. We had Peer Gynt symposium in Budapest in April 2017, where we did both performances with discussions around the play and the performances afterwards. This collaboration was very good, and has led to an new knowledge for Kompani13 around theater for young people. With the long experience form Káva theatre we would like to continue to explore this method, and involve other theatre partners in this work. We would also like to inspire Káva to explore their theatrical parts of their performances.
The method “theater of the participant” is based on the British Theater in Education. It uses a performance technique based on the involvement of the audience, that many times blur the boundaries between actor and audience. In this way, we make sure that the participants (audience) are able to have an impact on the events and be able to have their own relationship to the problem put in focus. We believe that if people are able to choose and make decisions in their fantasy or in an imaginary world, they are going to be able to do so in real life as well.
Trough performances addressing important cultural and political matters, the method makes it possible for the audience, through dialogue, to take action and think together to get to know themselves and their environment better - to not see the world in static immobility, but as a process.
It is an important part of this work to have a pedagogic mindset, but we try to avoid didactic questions and doubt schematic, clichéd answers.
Káva Kulturális Műhely have been working with this method for more than 20 years, and are deeply involved in constant innovation and to involve further artistic and scientific fields in their work (for instance: music, fine arts, dance, puppetry, sociology, cultural anthropology).
We believe the method that Káva Kulturális Műhely represent can be useful in other european countries for both children, youngsters, pedagogues, community developers and theater professionals. It opens for professional opportunities where we put interactivity and participation in its focus to reach the audience in new ways. Our motto is “participate in your life”.
“Theater of the participant” is not a well explored method in Scandinavia and Baltic countries. Therefore we want to establish a network that focus on this method. In these countries there is an openness and curiosity to art and pedagogy work for children/youngsters, and to the interactive performance methods.
With this network, we hope to build a living connection between the north and the central area of Europe. We will have a chance to show our culture and artistic approach and we can exchange knowledge and experience. In this way we can explore the approach to a younger generation through art, creativity, emotions and taking action through participation.
We would like to focus on the priority of contemporary theater to encourage children/youngsters to better understand themselves and their environment, to make them able to take action and become active citizens.
Our aim is to work together for one year. We will focus on working with youngsters and children, the partners using interactivity in their work (or willing to take part in getting to know and use these forms). The main aim of this project is to exchange artistic methods and approches: to get to know each other's cultural background and to guarantee know-how transfer. In the future the members of this network should be able to create international projects on different areas of performativity. Our long-term goal is to create a platform of knowledge where the partners connect performative tools and participation, concentrating on children and youngsters. We hope that the project can stimulate other artists.
Our cooperation - above the natural artistic priorities - put a strong emphasis on developing common artistic management (know-how transfer, knowledge, exchange of information, etc.)
When this project is completed, we will apply for fundings for a long term collaboration where we seek to develop a joint performance or a series of performances. We will also look at the opportunity of expanding and inviting other nationalities into the network in the future.
Kompani13 (Bergen, Norway) http://kompani13.no/
Káva Kulturális Műhely (Budapest, Hungary)https://kavaszinhaz.hu/
Bird and Bat (Reykjavík, Iceland)https://www.birdandbat.org/artists
Teater Allena v/Lasse Åkerlund (Sweden)https://www.allena.se/
National Theatre, Lithuania (Kauno, Lithuania)http://dramosteatras.lt/en/
Kompani 13 is a Norwegian theatre ensemble consisting of the experienced artists Jan Holden, Steinar Thorsen and Jorunn Lullau. They wish to explore puppet theatre combined with philosophical and political matters. Kompani13 is passionate about discussing these issues in performances for children and youth. Their lates performances are The magic forest (age 0-6) about life in a forest, Float (age 6+) about human responsibility towards nature and Peer Gynt - God's choice (age 14+), an interactive play addressing human rights connected to the refugee situation in Europe. Their aim is highlight new and modern versions of puppet- and object theatre in combination with traditional acting and music.
Bird & Bat is an icelandic dance company that makes work for young audiences. They started in 2011 and have since produced 4 shows. They emphasise work that can be performed in theatres and schools alike. Every show ends with playtime where children are allowed to explore the set and meet the performers and this is a very important part of the work for Bird & Bat. Their upcoming show (to be premiered in march 2019) will be a site specific installation where this audience exploration is the performance itself.
The National Kaunas Drama Theatre is the oldest professional theatre in Lithuania, founded in 1920. After the renovation of the Main Stage, the modernization of stage equipment, sound and lighting systems and the establishment of a hall for rehearsals, the theatre has deserved the status of the most modern theatre in the entire Baltic region. Each season about 350 events take place and 60 000 spectators visit the National Kaunas Drama Theatre. Spectators also can enjoy an educational festival for kids and young people “Plunge In to the Theatre”.
In 2017 Theatre launched The Theatre Factory – a space for young artists to conduct project activities, give artistic performances and host events, provide educational programs, realize their full potential, produce new ideas, and cooperate.
Teater Allena is a one-man theatre consisting of Lasse Åkerlund, whose trademark is storytelling. Åkerlund decided in 1984 to play theater for children. He believes that good and exciting theatre does not necessarily require large ensembles and technical surprises. The most important thing in the work of theater is the meeting; giving each and everyone in the audience a true, warm sense of participation. Putting less emphasis on props and scenography and more on giving the audience an opportunity to create their own images themselves.
“I do not play theater to make time pass, I play to make it stop”.
The Káva Drama/Theatre in Education Association has been working constantly as a theatrical and drama pedagogy group since 1996. The founders of the group are some of Hungary’s most experienced and educated theatre pedagogy professionals, with more than 20 years of practical experience. Their main aim as Budapest’s first professional TIE (Theater in Education) group is to create complex performances and perform them regularly, mainly for the age group from 8 to 18 years old. Beyond the aesthetic education, it is also their aim to develop democratic attitude, to investigate micro- and macro social and ethical – moral problems through theatrical forms. In their work with children, theatre is also a tool to find a way to deeper understanding of an important human problem. Káva’s theatre pedagogy work focuses on facing social questions, through which we are exploring the components of being human.
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