Exciting Power Plays to run next year with Real Life Theatre - one confirmed,others pending funding!
I've been working really hard recently submitting grant applications for 'power plays' - the equivalent of 6 full days of workshops with a group, followed by a forum theatre event - for the first part of next year. One of them is for Carers (Carers Acting Out), the second for youth (and older participants) who are having a hard time (Young People Doing it Tough). The third (Refuge), is in support of refugees and asylum seekers and the process of relocating into a new community.
It's exciting work, especially right now when I'm only just coming into theatre workshops after many years in teaching and community development, and many years of a love of theatre and playing around with it. It was only three years ago that I trained in the Theatre for Living facilitation with David Diamond in Vancouver, and now I'm finally able to implement it - much thanks to the training and mentoring from the Holmesglen NEIS scheme
It's also especially exciting as it places me right in the centre of local community development work, where I've always loved to be.
For each project to run, I need to work with a network of community collaborators who will help promote the workshops and invite participants. Some offer workspace or theatre space, others offer a counsellor - support comes in many different forms and it is joyful working in collaboration with others on a project that is likely to have a strong impact on the community. It's wonderful having this connection with the social service groups who are doing so much to help out people with different needs in the community. I've got to say right here that it's not easy connecting with the managers of the community houses - I don't think I've ever met such a dedicated and hard-working group of people! I respect them so much for what they do to support individuals and groups in their areas and some well beyond.
This theatre operates by giving people skills in creative expression of a kind that they may not have had the chance to develop before. It helps to boost confidence and connection through many games that are lots of fun and often wind up in laughter and joy.
The exciting news is that we have already learned that we are recipients of one of these grants, through the Maroondah City Council. The 'we' in this case involves working in collaboration with Yarrunga Community Centre in Croydon Hills. Sam Blackwell, the manager of the community centre, took this project on, amazingly, within a week of applications being due. We worked together on the application but Sam took the brunt of the work as it was lodged as a Yarrunga project. We recently had the pleasure of meeting at the awards notification night and stepping up to receive our congratulations and handshake. I feel honoured to be working with such people. Incidentally, on the night we met up with another group working to support carers, iDareU, who are also funding recipients for their project. Our project is also supported by Melba College, where the forum theatre event will take place in April. Many thanks to all our partners in providing this program for local eastern suburb Melbourne carers!
first : with Samantha Blackwell (R) from Yarrunga CH receiving our award from Maroondah City Council
second: Sam and I after meeting Sue Dymond and Lorraine Smith from iDareU - our new partners