Focus Day on Theatre by Children for Children – Part 1

As part of ASSITEJ’s Cradle of Creativity, a ‘Theatre by Children for Children’ Focus Day was held at the Vrygrond Cultural Hub on Sunday, 21st May, 2017.

What follows is Part 1 of quotes from various sessions throughout the day (click here for Part 2):

Kyla Davis (South Africa) – #Connected SA-UK: An Experimental Approach to Theatremaking for Young People in a Digital Age

“[The project] was an international Theatre and Digital Arts collaboration which saw two groups of teenagers, from opposite ends of the earth, connect live via an online rehearsal room.” (The project involved Drama activities taking place over Google Hangouts, video recordings, Snapchats and Vines.)

“We couldn’t find any young teenagers in the whole of Gauteng who had no experience of theatre, which is very surprising for us. […] They actually had less experience with Digital Arts, so that was quite interesting.”

“Some kids would need taxi money to attend, others were dropped off by Mums and Dads in a Mercedes Benz […] eating together was our attempt to try and level the playing field.”

“eating together was our attempt to try and level the playing field” – Kyla Davis

“The hellos and goodbyes to the other side were by far the most precious moments for all the participants. The build up to our connection was palpable. The group would rush back into the Theatre, after their break, to wait in front of the screen to go live.”

“As grown ups, we take a huge amount for granted. […] For teenagers the world is new and unknown.”

“For teenagers the world is new and unknown” – Kyla Davis

“To hear the lived experience of someone your age in another place, who you trust by virtue of the fact they are a bit like you, is a powerful experience.”

“With teenagers there is a vulnerability in just hanging out together.”

“The great thing about this project is that, by its nature, the Monitoring and Evaluation is already built in. We’re recording and documenting all the time, and in all kinds of ways.”

“Relationships can be formed in an instant […] but they take a while to deepen and to grow and the more they grow the more fruits they yield. So I feel a creative process such as this one takes time to flourish.”

“Every single one of the participants […] indicated that the Connected experience made them want to make Theatre again. And I think, for teenagers living in an increasingly digital world, wanting to experiment with live performance is a fantastic outcome.”

“for teenagers living in an increasingly digital world, wanting to experiment with live performance is a fantastic outcome” – Kyla Davis

Cathrin Rose and Emma Rose (Germany) – TEENTALITARIANISM – Building a Teenage State within a European Festival

“[One of my rules is] nothing is ever forbidden. Second, if you ask the kids or the teenagers to change a certain behaviour, explain why. Don’t ‘shhhh’ the kids. Never ever [do that], also during theatre performances.”

“Don’t ‘shhhh’ the kids” – Cathrin Rose

“Adults are not right [just] because they are adults.”

“In this state [the Teentalitarian space in front of the festival’s main venue] our Art had to be seen. Our ideas had to be heard. Our rules had to be followed.”

“Don’t just stand there and ask them [teenagers] about their life. Volunteer details about your life, even if those details are painful. Do not worry about overburdening the teen, they can handle it and, if they can’t, they will tell you to shut up.”

“Do not worry about overburdening the teen” – Emma Rose

“We want the idea to spread that teenagers can have power over Art.”

“They make other teenagers rethink what Art is, what Theatre is.”

“We invited the audience to have a glimpse of our universe.”

“The projects […] were not sweet and nice. The adults who came to a Teentaliarian show had [to play] an active part. You couldn’t be just an onlooker. They had to engage. They had to overcome the urge to leave. […] But the ones who stayed said they got something back – time with the teenagers.”