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|summary of international work|
Small World Theatre are experienced exponents of life changing Theatre in aid and development. Placing Culture and Theatre at the centre of development.
“This stuff works where economics, religion and governments seem to struggle”. Bill Hamblett, Artistic Director
We use theatre as a means of communication, helping focus aid and assisting communities to help determine their own development. We feel this helps with increasing the effectiveness and sustainability of aid. As Small World Theatre sort of implies we are not a massive corporate company and chose to operate on a project-by-project basis or with the support of larger agencies or institutions such as the British Council the U.N. etc.
We feel that we have made a big impact and our projects have been effective and indeed won awards.
Here is a brief summary of the work we have done and projects we are currently researching:
Ann Shrosbree, director has recently worked in Monrovia the Liberian capital, helping to set up a Wales Liberia Connect project as well as checking out other local theatre companies and projects working with HIV/ AIDS issues. We look forward to letting you know what comes out of this trip and the good work we are about to do.
The British Council responded to a request from Theatre director’s actors and scriptwriters in Damascus to bring Small World Theatre to Syria to share their techniques. We made a giant and it evolved in to a giant Genie (Jinn) the participant led storyline cast the giant as one who had accumulated lots of powers and had grown huge. It was set in a land where everyone had one unique magical power but the giant had tricked bought and acquired so many he had become unassailable and no longer listened to the regular sized people. They wanted their powers back.
Uganda 2005 - 2006
Working with 180 children from six schools around Kampala on a theatre process called ”These Rights are Mine” concerning the rights of the child. We formed a combined smaller troupe of 40 to perform to a wide spectrum of audience including policy makers, government ministers and street children at the National Theatre in the Capital where it was declared the show of the year by the National Press.
Sudan 1981 - 2000
In Sudan we started a project in 1981with a scoping visit traveling overland in a convoy of Landrovers. By 2000 the project had won a dry lands award from the UN Over 1 million trees were planted over a huge area of Northern Sudan. The shelterbelts protected the villages from certain desert destruction, the wind breaks protected the farm land between the river Nile, the tree nurseries in 6 of the 56 villages each had a deep well to grow the seedlings and provide clear water than other alternative shallow wells. A forest survives along with recreation parks and a few fruit trees and woodlots for the villages. The educational component that triggered the project activity was a series of puppet shows. Ann and I called Dandelion puppets at the time. An environmental miracle of community forestry on this SOS Sahel project.
Also we attended a meeting in Khartoum where Bob Geldof got the Northern Sudanese government and Army personnel to sit at a table with the Southern Sudanese rebels, aid agencies etc. to discuss the delivery of aid to stricken areas. Unheard of action by Bob a rock star able to set that up where many diplomatic actions could not.
Tanzania 2000 & 2007
In there second ever multi party elections Small World Theatre was asked to train Tanzanian actors in theatre techniques that would promote women’s' participation in the democratic process After unique research using puppets the group of Tanzanian actor formed a forum theatre show and toured the slums of Dar es Salam 49 shows later they had transformed the show over 3 times including new characters and identified a candidate that was offering bribes of beer, cloth and money for electors to vote for him . Someone from the Tanzanian electoral commission picked this up and the culprit was de selected.
Drama for Peace 1999
At a meeting in Khartoum again but in 1999 I was sitting at a table with the minister for peace (war) at a culture conference. We were part of a drama for peace delegation so I took a chance to address a larger question than was theatre effective in conflict situations (by the way Yes is the answer) so I asked this minister that wouldn't it be a great saving of (nine million dollars a week) to give the South of Sudan some autonomy and set up a devolved government as in Wales' case and even paying for it to be set up and run would be a saving. What a "peace dividend" He said wow you have made a good point so 12 years later they get round to saving even more money and keeping access to the oil via the pipeline and they give the South independence.
Diogel Safe Refugee Project, Wales
This project was seen as a fantastic example of refugee integration that Small World Theatre and the project was mentioned on the floor of the House of Commons (look it up in Hansard). Subsequently we asked to present our finding to an all party meeting of Welsh MPs at the House of commons. Later we were asked to present the show at the Welsh Assembly Now known as Wales Government, to invited children and the committee of Welsh AMs making policy about refugees in Wales. Research with newly arrived refugees to Wales helped form this show as well as past work in Hong Kong refugee camps and returning refugees to Vietnam.
Ann Shrosbree was selected by the participants who voted her the most experienced person in the world to lead a course on Theatre for Development. Where with Alex Mavro she delivered training with theatre groups on participatory theatre.
In Vietnam we did the first piece of public awareness raising using theatre to discuss AIDS or SIDA as it is referred to there. These westerners work harder than communists was one official quote.Officially there were only 8 people with AIDS in Vietnam at that time.