Arts and cultural activities, Community development

TABLE THEATRE BY THE LOCALS FOR THE LOCALS

Building dialogue and inspiring new local initiatives through means of participatory theatre

Creators

Who is behind this?

Grega Močivnik

Kud ljud

http://www.ljud.si

Slovenia

Idea

Idea pitch

Main objective is to build bridges between polarized political stands, unrelated social groups, opposing views and belief systems through means of art and theatre. Residents of different ages, social and ethnic backgrounds will be engaged into dialogue and reflection about living together. Using the method of Table Theatre (theatre piece on specific local issues that takes place around the table which is followed by discussion) in which locals create new space for exchange and joint action.

Where will your project idea take place?

Sevnica (5000 inhabitants), Lower Sava region (2nd smallest Slovenian region), SE part of Slovenia.

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

The region in many ways reaches under the country's average: as the Quality of Life Index shows, people from this region are on average less included in the society than people in other Slovenian regions. Data shows that every 10th person from the Lower Sava region has nobody with whom they could share personal or intimate conversation. According to the Child Well-being Index, the children from the Lower Sava region have less frequent access to cultural goods than most other children in the country. Political polarisation in rural environments is even more present than in the cities, as well as the problem of the younger population leaving the area. There is a lack of cultural events and a lack of local initiatives. The unemployment rate in this area is among the highest in Slovenia.

Who are you doing it for?

Population in the region with different social, professional and ethnic backgrounds, including recipients of welfare benefits, people working in NGOs and those active in local politics and public institutions, young people, senior citizens, first-time residents and migrants. We will include locals of all ages (kids, adolescents, adults, elderly people) into research, find locals who are motivated to do the workshop and Table Theatre events for the community. How does the younger generation look into the future of the respective district? What would motivate the older generation to contribute to the community? We will share the outcome of discussions, ideas, problems and wishes with the organisations. The project will give impulses and ideas to actively change the neighbourhood.

How do you plan to get there?

Step 1: contacting local institutions, preparing local actions in order to gain participants for interviews and theatre workshop: advertising in the local newspaper, spreading information into communities through local opinion makers, including relevant local institutions (library, primary school, Public institute for culture, sport, tourism and youth activities Sevnica, retirement home), printing leaflets, “Local Hero” interventions in public space. Step 2: gathering of the local participants and forming a focus group to concise the relevant local topic for Table Theatre method. Step 3: implementation of 30-hour workshop. Step 4: creating Table Theatre piece on the chosen topic with the locals that was recognized as the burning local issue in the second step. Step 5: implementation of Table Theatre performances on the specific theme in 10 different locations: parks, flats, retirement home, public library, youth centre, primary school. Step 6: monitoring of the project, implementation of the “neighbourhood office”; enlarging the space for participation and including voices in the public affairs. Step 7: dissemination of the Table Theatre method and the concept of “neighbourhood office”, promoting them as a tool for bottom-up decision making and raising awareness about important local issues. Step 8: advocating for the community interests to the local and regional politicians.

What are the expected results?

Through the analysis of 30 interviews (conducted with the locals) we will detect burning issues in the local environment, which will be addressed in the workshop. The main approaches in the workshop will consist of addressing controversial issues through theatre exercises, thinking through debate and play. The final piece will be presented 10x to the wider local population and local policy makers. We believe that the project will result in the rise of the new local initiatives and the spread of the TT method and concept of “neighbourhood office”. It will bring community topics to the public and to local politicians; motivate people to be more interested in the community where they live; encourage people to advocate for their community rights; and demonstrate that change is possible.

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

We will tackle alienation of people as it happens due to lack of activities where people would get-to-know each other and co-create. This results in less interpersonal trust, less dialogue and in increased political apathy on one hand and increased political radicalization on another. The idea is to enhance community-building activities in the region which will result in building-up civic engagement. The project encourages, advises and mentors participants in order for them to be equipped with skills on how to engage in discussions about topics they see important on the local level. The idea is to stimulate active citizenship through performative tools and encourage people to make propositions for the improvement of the local environment and share those propositions with local government.

Why is this idea important to you?

LJUD is an international group of performers, directors, social scientists and activists based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Our main goal is to explore possibilities of artistic expression in public space and to empower communities. Grega Močivnik (sociologist, theatre mentor and performer) lived in town Sevnica for 18 years, Sanja Žmavc (anthropologist) lives in the village 5 km from Sevnica. Other members are: Nina Vombergar (sociologist, theatre mentor and performer), Vida Cerkvenik Bren (theatre director and theatre mentor), Nika Gabrovšek (production manager) and Berlin directorial team Harry Fuhrmann (theatre director) and Christiane Wiegand (dramaturgist) who developed the method of Table Theatre and will be our consultants and mentors during implementation of the Table Theatre method.

€ 42328,-

Total budget

€ 34668,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Fees and honoraries (production management, interviews, workshops, Table Theatre performances,): 22160 eur
Fees and honoraries (video and photo documentation, dissemination): 3200 eur
Travel costs: 5268 eur
Material costs: 1700 eur
Office costs: 1700 eur
Food&accommodation for 2 persons (mentors from Germany): 640 eur

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Any kind of feedback, suggestion and support is welcome.

Team

kudljud@gmail.com

Idea created on April 26, 2021

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