3Aug
rlevitow August 3, 2010 No Comments

Theatre for the Free People’s International Arts Exchange Program Ghana

Teaching Artists! Photographers! Filmmakers!

Theatre for the Free People’s International Arts Exchange Program provides an environment for artists/activists to engage in a global perspective.  It is geared towards fostering creative and collaborative relationships abroad.  In partnership with the Ghana Health and Education Initiative, Theatre for the Free People will offer two weeks of free community-based arts education and programming to the Bibiani-Ankwaso-Bekwai district of Ghana in Jan./Feb. of 2011.

Objectives:

To facilitate Theatre of the Oppressed workshops and Forum Theatre presentations to students in secondary schools throughout the district.
To facilitate creative writing workshops which focus on playwriting and poetry for students in Youth Education Program.
To conduct an “Artist as Activist” training program for members in the Adult Peer Education group.
To devise a series of performance pieces for presentation to the community of Humjibre, Ghana.
To conduct a series of open yoga/movement workshops.
To engage in a series of cultural exchange opportunities with the citizens of Humjibre including cooking, farming, drumming and dancing.
To create a documentary film which follows the preparation and implementation of the International Arts Exchange Program in Ghana.

Program Description:

Adult Peer Education Program

Ghana Health and Education Initiative’s Adult Peer Education program was developed with the aim of targeting community health issues through education.  Peer Educators who are dedicated to advancing the health of their community, write and stage dramas, design and carry out public health outreach sessions with a variety of target groups, and disseminate advice through their engagement with local groups and clubs.  In addition to ongoing training provided by the Health Program Coordinator, Peer Educators are trained by the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) and carry out a variety of HIV/AIDS interventions, focusing on prevention, stigma and discrimination.

Theatre for the Free People’s “Artist as Activist” program examines the artist as environmental, ethical, humanistic and social activist.  By using the concept of artists as transformative agents from social, cultural and political perspectives, this project provides venues for literary, visual and performance artists to create art, to engage in conversations about the impact of their art on society, and to raise societal awareness of the use of art as a tool for liberation.  Peer Educators will serve as apprentices to the Theatre for the Free People Teaching Artists by shadowing them to work in secondary schools, in exchange, they will educate Teaching Artists about pertinent health issues that affect their community.  Theatre for the Free People will offer workshops to Peer Educators on Theatre of the Oppressed techniques and video/media production.  Peer Educators will also serve as translators for Teaching Artists throughout the program.

Youth Education Program

Ghana Health and Education Initiative’s Youth Education Program responds to the needs and desires of the local community by offering supplementary courses for motivated and gifted students from local junior high schools.  Classes focus on critical thinking skills, interactivity, group learning and expression.  Theatre for the Free People is dedicated to exploring and inspiring work which amplifies marginalized voices.  To the students in this program we will offer a series of creative writing workshops which focus on the idea of storytelling.  Through narrative, poetry and playwriting these workshops will explore the myriad of ways in which an individual can tell a story through ethnographic theatre techniques.  Students will be asked to consider universal ideas of oppression, emancipation, freedom, justice and humanity, how they engage in the community around them and what opportunities there may be for change.  Participants will be invited to present their work to the comm
unity.

Theatre of the Oppressed Workshops

Theatre of the Oppressed is a participatory theatrical technique which was developed by theatre director/activist Augusto Boal in the 1970s and turned into a worldwide movement for change.  In an effort to “humanize humanity”, this technique transforms the monologue of traditional performance into a dialogue between the audience and the actors on stage.  It transforms the spectator into actor, to explore, show, analyze and transform the reality in which they are living.  Theatre for the Free People will facilitate a series of Theatre of the Oppressed workshops and Forum Theatre presentations to students in secondary schools throughout the district.  The workshops will consist of a series of games and exercises in which participants are asked to reflect on how they perform and participate in their own oppressions and how they might perform as “Free People”.  Teaching Artists will also devise a series of short performance pieces which are geared towards addressing critical hea
lth issues through the problem-solving methodology of Forum Theatre.

Harlem to Humjibre:

“Harlem to Humjibre” is a documentary film project which follows the preparation and implementation of Theatre for the Free People’s International Arts Exchange Program in Ghana.  Do these New Yorkers have what it takes to survive in a village where running water and electricity are luxuries?  What lessons will they learn from the Ghanaian community on happiness despite circumstances?  How will they forge a connection with a people from which they have been displaced?

This film highlights the importance of placing culture at the center of an organizing strategy.  Cultural Organizing unites people through the humanity of culture and the democracy of participation.  It questions the ways in which the oppressed find the enduring strength to raise themselves to a level of creative consciousness and the ways in which we can reclaim education as a community project.

“Harlem to Humjibre” addresses the most critical human rights issues of our time through the implementation of a community-based arts program. What is necessary to bring this program into fruition?  What is required to create a sense of solidarity with communities when working internationally? How does an individual maintain a sense of self and a healthy mind, body and spirit when immersed in a different culture?

Location:

Humjibre serves as the headquarters for the Ghana Health and Education’s work in Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai District. Humjibre is a medium-sized village with a population around 4,500. It is located in the humid, sub-tropical Western Region of Ghana. It is the fourth largest village in the district, and is located approximately 3 hours by local transport from the nearest city, Kumasi.

Expenses:

Each volunteer is required to raise a minimum of $1500 towards this program as a requirement of the Ghana Health and Education Initiative.  This program fee covers accommodations in Humjibre including housing, meals and transportation to/from Accra while supporting their ongoing programming.  It does not include airfare which averages $1,100 to $2,000 from the USA and $700 to $1200 from Europe which the volunteer would be responsible for as well.  GHEI is committed to using donations ethically and to their greatest benefit including (but not limited to) providing scholarships for students to continue their educations, and maintaining local health clinic.  A $500 deposit is required within two weeks of acceptance as a non-refundable deposit to secure the position.  The remaining funds are due in two installments of $500 due on November 26th and January 7th.  All donations are tax-deductible.  Volunteers are also responsible for obtaining vaccinations, malaria prophylaxis, eva
cuation insurance and a visa.

Ghana Health and Education Initiative:

The mission of the Ghana Health and Education Initiative is to promote the advancement of health and education in the Bibiani-Ankwaso-Bekwai District of Ghana by providing resources and the necessary support to effect change.  For more information please visit:  www.ghei.org

About Us:

Theatre for the Free People is an organization which is dedicated to using the arts as a vehicle for social change by providing an environment for a new generation of artists/activists to collectively explore how the arts can be emancipating. Transformational Activism is the idea that we can tap into the power of mass-collaboration and collective creativity to transform people into more loving, peaceful, and compassionate human beings. It is based on the idea that people need to transform on the inside as well as on the outside in order to create any meaningful change in the world. By galvanizing our creative energy towards production, education, inspiration, and theory we hope to find truth in the innate ability of the arts to transform lives and mobilize communities.

www.theatreforthefreepeople.com

How to Apply:

Applications Available on website:
www.theatreforthefreepeople.com

(or by e-mail request)

Applications Due:
August 19th, 2010

For more information please contact:

Joi M. Sears
Executive Director
Theatre for the Free People
theatreforthefreepeople@gmail.com

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