Community development, Youth participation and empowerment

City of the Sun

Social theater for healthy communities and effective labor relations


Who is behind this?

Vesselin Alexiev

Orion Grid


Who is joining forces?

Atelie Plastelin Foundation


Playback theater "4 One"



Idea pitch

Using educational and organizational tools, arts and theatre, coaching and supportive systems, we will empower young people to create a resilient networking community to protect their interests in the workplace and create a healthier setting for individual and collective growth. Through theater we intend to plant the seeds of healthy human communities, rested on a resilient socio-ecological foundation, stimulate creative and reflective processes.

Where will your project idea take place?

Sofia, Bulgaria

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

The educational and social systems:
-do not educate about labor rights, or even the fact that people have ones;
-implies that people are to be well instructed and obedient executors in the economic systems of private interests;
-the role of the common people is to be source of life energy to the economic matrix in the name of the state GDP growth;
-the common person is not recognized as a creative and generative agent in the society, but merely a supplier of energy and time for economic growth.

This notion affects especially young people, leaving them vulnerable to all sorts of violations, manipulative and corrupt practices in the contemporary economic environment.

Who are you doing it for?

Raising the awareness from the point of our everyday life and the understanding of where we stand here and now, what is the present situation and our role in it, what are our personal and collective resources, what we dream of the future - we are doing it for us, for our friends, for our neighborhoods and for our community.
120 young people between 18/29 years - students graduating high school/ university and getting into the labor force. They will learn their labor rights, understand the values of active citizenship, and acquire tools for building resilient communities.
20 Theater professionals and enthusiasts, psychologists, and jurists will develop their capacity in youthwork.
20 Labor Union experts who will learn how to engage with young people and address their particular needs.

How do you plan to get there?

Community Building:
a)12x trainings on Self-actualization and personal development for young people - exploring the meaning and value of our human work, purpose and worker’s rights (organizing collectives, negotiating working conditions, local and international approaches at creating a fairer workplace)
b)12x open space workshops created by participants, exploring labor topics through theater; more specifically - Theater of the oppressed, Playback and Forum theater, Storytelling and Listening circles, Open spaces for artistic experiments and improvisation.
c)Building a network with at least 6 x independent youth groups, based in the neighborhoods of Lyulin and Mladost.
d)4x trainings for National labor unions’ members and policy makers, developed by youth networks.
Building Capacity:
a)Providing knowledge on workers’ rights and existing labor relations through trainings for young people just entering the labor market
b)Support group of professionals - legal and psychological assistance for youth groups and individuals
c)Promoting theatrical methods of expression and engagement - art has a capacity to create a space for conversations on social problems and it can generate change for the audience, participants and the communities.
d) Organizing and training in Restorative justice practices
a)Theatrical performances
b) Restorative circles
c) Media

What are the expected results?

1.The participants will be informed and empowered, equipped with a simple and powerful set of tools, acquired during the project that will give growth capacity for building healthy communities, explore their potential to protect their rights
2.Co-creating live networks of support and collaboration with at least 6 independent youth groups, working on any social and political issues that they are passionate about, Such as human and labor rights, social justice, ecology
3.Labor unions in Bulgaria will trained in assessing and addressing the needs of young people
4. 4+ large performances increasing visibility on the topic of exploitation and workers
5. 8+ small scale performances targeted locally
6. Small manual about promoting social and political change through theater

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

1.Enabling local communities to come together and support each other on the topic of labor
2.Providing a toolset: community building skills, mediation, restorative justice, psychology, and theater will enable youth groups to impact their workplace and their local community. Having these tools will ensure growth, and creation of similar groups in other neighborhoods and cities.
3.Working with labor unions will increase sensitivity to youth exploitation and help them create an effective way to connect and engage young people.
4.Creating a manual for community building, and promoting social and political change through theater will help others replicate and build on our experience to bring change to their communities

Why is this idea important to you?

This cause combines our values, our dreams and our work in the world, as small beads of seeds for developing our capacity to imagine and see each other beyond stereotypes, to re-connect and restore relationships for the well-being of everyone, the community and the Whole.

Our team consists of youth workers, trainers, photographers, artists, actors, experts in restorative justice and mediation, psychologists, sociologists and jurists. We are all theater enthusiasts, and firmly stand behind the notion that the purpose of art is to challenge injustices and redefine our realities.

€ 44000,-

Total budget

€ 30000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

16xTrainings (12 months) - 4500 EUR
12xOpen space workshops (12 months) - 3500 EUR
Legal Assistance (6 months) - 3500 EUR
Advertising and online presence (12 months) - 1500 EUR
12xPerformances - 4500 EUR
Project management - 9500 EUR
Consumables - 2000 EUR
External Expenses - 1000 EUR

Training Space (12 months) - 5500 EUR
Theater venue (4 months) - 2500 EUR
Volunteer work / 200 hours x EUR 25 per day / - 5000 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We will need feedback and support from similar past projects, sharing experiences and collaborating. along with international contacts and insights in the field of labor rights - civic organizations, non-formal groups. We are open to ideas and comments from the community and welcome your feedback.



Simona Vasileva

Idea created on April 25, 2021
Last edit on April 26, 2021

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