Trip around the onionskin – bilateral (Norwegian-Hungarian) participatory theatrical project

The main aim of our contemporary theatrical project dedicated to high school students is to create Theater in Education performances in the framework of the cooperation that are showing the most important values of this area and are motivating the participants towards common thinking and creating actions connected to a present-day moral / social problem. The performances will be for 16-18 year-old age groups, using interactive elements. Both of the companies step out of their comfort zones, to participate in an art and pedagogy project that also means strengthening their international relations, the culture exchange between the two countries, and also starting a possible further professional network.

Our common base is a classic by Ibsen, one of the important dramas of the European literary heritage, Peer Gynt; we would like to open up the topic of responsibility appearing on many levels.

The performance by Kompani13 (Bergen) is going to reflect on the European migrant crisis, putting the European responsibility of the wealthy, developed countries; and the Káva Drama/Theatre in Education Association’s (Budapest) performance puts taking responsibility on a personal level and the socialization in focus.

We are working on strengthening, making audible the voice of children and youngsters through artistic and pedagogic, sometimes through cultural anthropologic and community engaging tools. Specifically this means that in our project, we try to create a forum for high school age groups to make them able to articulate and express their relationship towards the moral / social problem put in focus in a creative way, and to be able to discuss it with each other.

In our work, theater is also a tool to find a way to a deeper understanding of an important moral problem. We know and with results of traditional and Art Based Researches, we can prove the social utility of Theater in Education – we also think of our work as a sequence of social interventions. We use a technique based on the inclusion of the audience, that often – willingly – blurs the boundaries between the actors and spectators, making sure that the participants are able to shape the actions and form their own personal relationship to the problem put in focus as much as possible.

It is an essential viewpoint of our innovation, that we continuously re-think the formal traditions, we are looking for the possibilities and artistic, pedagogic and community development tools that can creatively “fructify” the method of Theater in Education (TiE). In the framework of this project, in the Norwegian module TiE meets puppetry, and in the Hungarian, we put the continuous acting through role work in the center.

Main events and “products” in realization through the project:

  • professional platform, coordination meeting in Bergen, at the beginning of the project, to provide consensus in the most important professional questions;
  • creation of two participatory theatrical performances using interactive elements; performing these to high school youngsters at least 5 times per group (in Bergen and in Budapest);
  • study trip in Budapest (for the Norwegian company) and in Bergen (for the Hungarian company), having the aim firstly to get to know the local professional environment, getting inspirations; in the framework of the study trips, the hosting company’s professionals also lead workshops to the other company;
  • two-day professional conference, symposium in Budapest, meanwhile both performances are performed and the social / moral problems brought up will be discussed with the help of Hungarian theater, Theater in Education and academic professionals (in front of wider professional public);
  • both performances are to be recorded to video to create a DVD in HD quality; publishing an online and print issue as a synthesis of the project; with an embedded critic (and hopefully several articles and studies) will help to make the projects’ most important experiences public.

Our intentions to our international project is to create a connection between the art of theatre and the real processes occurring in society; and also to serve as a model program for further bilateral cooperations in the area of participatory theater / Theater in Education.