In April 2018 in Bogovađa, together with the DAH Theatre, we launched drama workshops intended for youth. The workshops are held in “Mile Dubljević” elementary school and in the Centre for the Protection and Assistance to Asylum Seekers in Bogovađa.
The drama workshops taking place in the school are intended for domicile children and children from the Centre. Workshops were launched to encourage socialising between domicile and migrant children in order to spread the idea of tolerance, understanding and acceptance of different identities. In this way we work together towards a better acceptance of migrants into communities, spreading awareness that we live in a multicultural society based on the acceptance of different identities, cultures and ethnicities.
The team of drama artists from the DAH Theatre – Dijana Milošević, Ivana Milenović Popović, Evgenija Eškina and Ivan Milošević, did various exercises with elementary school children, with the aim to introduce the children to the basics of acting skills, such as coordination and movement, focus, sense of space, sense of rhythm and tempo, developing imagination, and finally analysing drama texts and creating group scenes. Through these exercises, the children interacted with each other, surpassing the language barriers (but also studying the common vocabulary), revealing cultural similarities and differences, and at the same time learning from each other. We have held four workshops so far, and after the summer break we will enter a new cycle of socialising, with the goal of creating a joint performance to be held in the school before parents, teachers and fellow citizens. In this way, through the process of joint work, domicile children will be sensitised for migration issues, which will contribute to a better understanding and acceptance of the social circumstances in which they grow up, while children from the Centre will be able to share their experiences with peers and the entire community, which will contribute to their better acceptance in society. Our wish is to shape new generations of youth through creative and productive contacts of schoolchildren of different cultural identities who will be empowered to promote cultural diversity in their communities.
The workshops held in the Centre in Bogovađa are foreseen for young men and women accommodated in the Centre. While spending time with the young people, artists from the DAH Theatre realised how their everyday life was uniform and filled with heavy anticipation regarding the continuation of their journey. In such circumstances, what they needed most, according to the artist and art director of the DAH Theatre, Dijana Milošević, was the experience of the power of the present moment – the power of being now and here, as well as the encouragement to find strength in the present instead of constantly looking towards the uncertain future.
In working with a group of migrants in the Centre we carried out various activities: participants made a map of the world in space and moved around it – going from the places they had visited, through the present places, to imaginary destinations that would be a source of peace and happiness; they wrote haiku poetry in the Dadaist manner, in order to eventually create an integral poetic work that would express their common experiences, but also wishes and hopes; through conversations, dance and movement, different games, we met each other and learned about the unique stories as parts of our identity.
All the activities within the workshops encourage the exchange of stories and experiences with the idea of being implemented in a socially engaged performance. The performance will be interactive and will be played in public places in several towns of Serbia with the desire to reach wide audience. In this way, the stories of the domicile and migrant population will be mixed, which will make visible the already existing multiethnic structure of towns with a large number of citizens of different cultures and backgrounds. In addition, individual voices of migrants accommodated in the Centre in Bogovađa will be heard, with their personal stories and experiences.
Project: Beyond the Chapters
Objective: Focusing attention on the rights of asylum seekers and migrants, raising awareness of the general and professional public on the social, economic and cultural rights of asylum seekers and migrants; contribution to the development of the system of reception of different categories of migrants and an open and tolerant society.
Implementers: Group 484 (“We and the Others” Educational Program)
Support: The European Union Delegation to Serbia