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Drama for Change Training Programme: Using Theatre to Promote Anti-Racism, Gender Equality and Inclusion

Drama for Change was a three-year European partnership project that ran from 2014 to 2017 with five European partners from Ireland, Germany, Bulgaria, Spain and the Netherlands. The project used creative methods of theatre to develop a new Drama for Change Training Curriculum and Toolbox of Resources for adult educators, using the arts to promote anti-racism, equality and diversity and was funded by Erasmus+. Drama for Change brought together a cross sector of organisations that work with marginalised groups in adult education. The five European partner organisations are:

Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company, Ireland - Coordinating Partner.

Instituto de Formacion y Estudios Sociales (IFES), Valencia, Spain.

Pressure Line Visual and Creative Communications, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

The Dialogue, Lindau, Germany.

KU TU Ltd, Sofia, Bulgaria.

Drama for Change resulted in the creation of a five-day ‘train-the-trainer’s’ Training Curriculum and Toolbox of Resources that provides adult educators including teachers and artists with the skills necessary to work with adults through the creative medium of theatre in order to promote anti-racism, gender equality and diversity.

The training curriculum is titled ‘Drama for Change Training Programme: Using Theatre to promote Anti-Racism, Gender Equality and Inclusion’ and is contained in an interactive Pdf available on each partner website and on EPALE - Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe - and was developed in response to two questionnaires, the first with adult educators and the second with potential participants, both developed to identify the needs of educators and artists wishing to learn how to use drama and theatre games and exercises to promote issue based work. The curriculum is designed and authored by Mary Moynihan, Writer, Theatre and Film Maker and Artistic Director, Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company and Freda Manweiler, Company Manager, Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company and developed in collaboration with the project partners.

The curriculum contains a selection of theatre games and exercises which can be used by adult educators to promote equality, inclusion and anti-racism work, and a series of hand-outs including guidelines for drama facilitators, key terms and a Drama for Change bibliography.

A Toolbox of Resources accompanies the training consisting of five on-line Research documents with information on cultural diversity and current policies and legislation in each partner country, and five Video Demonstrations on how to conduct a selection of the game and exercises. The Drama for Change Research Documents and Video Demonstrations were collaboratively designed by the partner organisations.

As part of the three year Drama for Change programme, a series of key events took place across Europe including seven transnational project partner meetings, a ‘train the trainers’ training programme, a series of multiplier events and dissemination events and activities reaching 471,696 people.

The project culminated in Still I Rise, a Theatre for Change European Symposium and Performance, held at Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin, on 28 April 2017, bringing together Irish and international guest speakers, artists and citizens to explore the role of the creative arts to promote anti-racism, gender equality and diversity in adult education.  

Smashing Times invited Serbian artist Dijana Milošević, an award winning theatre director writer, lecturer and Artistic Director of DAH Theatre, Serbia, to deliver a high-level training and mentoring workshop and seminar on the arts in social contexts. Dijana’s visit to Ireland was supported by The Arts Council Travel and Training Award. The Irish guest speakers were John Scott, Artistic Director, Irish Modern Dance Theatre; Mary Moynihan, Theatre and Film Maker and Artistic Director of Smashing Times and Lecturer at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama; Mary Duffin, theatre-maker, TOTO practitioner and screenwriter; and Shane O’Curry, Director, ENAR Ireland.

The symposium featured a performance of Mary Elmes (from The Woman is Present: Women’s Stories of WWII by Mary Moynihan, Fiona Thompson and Paul Kennedy) performed by Róisín Mc Atamney. The performance is a creative re-imagining of the life of Mary Elmes (1908-2002) a Cork woman who worked with Spanish and Jewish refugees during WWII and was the first Irish person honoured as 'Righteous Among Nations' for her work saving lives from the Nazi gas chambers.

This was followed by a dance piece Sebastiao’s Dream from Fall and Recover, directed by John Scott, Irish Modern Dance Theatre, and performed by Sebastiao Kamalandua; and a recital of the powerful and defiant Still I Rise by Maya Angelou, the American poet and Civil Rights activist, directed by Róisin McAtamney and performed by Mary Duffin.

The symposium culminated in the launch of the collaboratively designed Drama for Change Curriculum and Toolbox of Resources with research and video demonstrations on how to conduct theatre games and exercises. The launch was conducted by Chrissie Poulter, Trinity College Dublin, Freda Manweiler, Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company and Ave Neumann, Dialogue SBL GmbH with a closing song by Ave Neumann and Fernando Benavente Tendillo, IFES, Spain.

Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company extends a very special thanks to the artists, partners, educators, facilitators, guest speakers, production team and funders involved in Drama for Change and we offer a very special thanks to Erasmus+ and Léargas.


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Designed and authored by: Mary Moynihan, Writer, Theatre and Film Maker and Artistic Director, Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company Freda Manweiler, Company Manager, Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company
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