Friday, 21 October 2016

Interactive Theatre: Participatory Approaches to Peace Building and Examining Power Balance:

The Common Air Project [CAP] equips participants with the communication skills, knowledge and awareness to transform their lives and the lives of others personally, socially and professionally.  They provide training to participants as a unique tool for positive behaviour change in their own lives and those with whom they work / interact.  CAP uses a highly experiential form of learning which can be described as a participatory approach to social change. It is through participation that individuals generate the awareness and ability to implement practical and positive changes in their own lives and gain a voice in society as a whole. As well as exploring current behaviour, this methodology also enables a group to find its own solutions to the issues raised within a community.  It is only through genuine physical & emotional commitment that the theatre can provide can behaviours be examined and, if need be, positively changed.

CAP has facilitated workshops in South Africa, Ethiopia and throughout the United Kingdom as a means to examine current behaviour and practice around a variety of topics with the common thread generally being a breakdown in communication in personal or professional practice.  Interactive Theatre looks to try out positive behaviour changes in these areas [some have called this ‘rehearsing for life’].  It has also been utilized to examine how to make positive behaviour changes within the power dynamic that is present in professional practice as well as dealing with patients, clients, family members, colleagues and management.    
The interactive theatre workshop consists of enabling participants to bring about physical changes in their behaviour through changes in their body, voice or use of space to enable positive change to occur.  This results in a positive and fun way of transforming behaviour. 

Identifying interpersonal dynamics and power inequalities within personal or professional environment: in our private or professional experiences, we may not truly understand why someone is behaving in a certain way. We may in turn behave inappropriately ourselves and end up in undesirable situations. This interactive theatre methodology is a valuable tool in exposing these behaviours in any context, aiding us to identify certain communicative tendencies and power inequalities more swiftly. 

Exploring collective responsibility and systemic change, that is, how behaviour change in surrounding people and environments can also change the behaviour of those directly involved in a dispute/ conflict. In shedding some light on how space, colleagues/ others and expectations can play a silent role in people's behaviour, participants can become more aware of collusion and how easily it can form. This group and institutional understanding of power relationships has led us to utilize the technique of interactive ‘Legislative Theatre’ where collective and systemic behaviour is explored. This allows for change to be catalysed, and a strong platform for the advocacy of rights to be created.

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