The Theatre workshop took place on 5th -14th July 2021 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Four Cyprus residents took part in the workshop at the invitation of the DOREA Team. The training attracted participants from Cyprus, Italy and Germany. Through performance acts, movement exercises, dance, sharing of ideas and perspectives, there was a unification happening and a greater awareness of the core issues of the Global South communities, with an emphasis on minorities and immigrants.
The training was organized as part of the ERASMUS + KA2 “Reconnect – Dance and theatre education in dialogue with the Global South” PROJECT. The project aims to create a new approach in art learning and unlearning practices to intervene in hegemonic knowledge in artistic production. Project participants went through a capacity-building programme designed by the project partners, Protagon and Ondadurto theatres, to promote artistic research in a cultural diversity context through theatre and choreography.
“The most important part of the experience for me was the fact that we came together with people from more than 10 nationalities. Through indirect and direct communication (performance acts, movement exercises, dance, sharing of ideas and perspectives), there was a unification happening and a greater awareness of the core issues of the Global South communities, such as those of the minorities and immigrants”, says Christina, who lives and works in Nicosia.
Another participant, when asked about the most exciting experience during the workshop, answers as follows: “I really enjoyed the dance part of the workshop! And a lot of movement exercises. I really liked that in the final performance, everything we were working on came together. The workshop was attended by people with different views, experiences and ways of life. I learned tolerance and I have experienced being tolerated”, says Julia, who is currently living and doing an internship in Limassol.
During these 10 days, the participants discussed the Global South while diving into topics like colonialism, the standard of beauty, othering, diaspora, white privilege and many others through theatre and artistic performance. When talking about the Global South, we are talking about the countries of Latin America, Africa and some countries of Asia and Oceania. These are considered to be third world/developing countries of low income and are usually marginalized on a cultural and political level.
This is the general perception and definition created by north globe countries that does not reflect the essence of those countries. “When people from the global south move to European countries or North America, they are most often treated as minorities or in a racist way. Nevertheless, they have their own story, awareness and gifts to share with the world”, writes Christina.
Other participant from Cyprus presents a slightly different view: “I associate the Global South more with threats and problems in these regions. During the workshops I focused more on noticing and getting to know some interesting things about the culture and art of the Global South. I was able to look at this topic from the perspectives of the people who live there, have their family, culture, tradition and dreams, while facing serious everyday problems”, writes Julia.
During the week, the participants created a performance that summarized various elements of their artistic work. The performance was in dialogue with the personal experiences of the participants and the topics of the workshops. There was no shortage of spectators during the performance.
Participation in this project allowed us to look at the Global South from a different perspective, so as not to look at these countries through the prism of stereotypes but the values they create and offer. In addition, it encouraged us to explore the interesting cultures and traditions of the Global South. Finally, the participants also gained knowledge and arguments to combat stereotypes about these countries among our friends and people around us.
Authors: Christina Lefkati & Julia Czubaj