Our first meeting - 20th March:
In our first meeting with Emily at Oval House Theatre we discussed our availability and commitment to this project. We needed to be aware that we could not just dip in and out when we liked, these children needed stability and little change in their lives. We told Emily that we were aware of this and we did not want to mess this children about and we are taking this very seriously. We discussed our intentions and ideas for this project and it was agreed that we would work with a team to create a piece of forum theatre that would be taken into some classes and worked on.
We will be working with facilitators Karen, Tunde and Zephryn. The Facilitator's role is different to a teacher's role. The facilitator is there to help guide things and help the group express their feelings and opinions through ways other than aggression. They don't have the boundaries set up like teachers do. They are someone who makes progress easier for the students, who may have conflicts in certain situations. If a student outbursts in class, then the facilitator must diffuse the situation and challenge their actions and ask why they did this, what they feel, be reflective on it, what were they trying to say through their actions and try and switch 'blame' with 'responcibility'.
The groups we will be working with are all referred to Back On Track. The groups normally consist of no more than 10 students. There is about 6 groups. We will work on some of the issues they have been tackling in lessons and prepare a piece on it. A lot of the issues centre around anger, attitudes and conflicts.
With all this to think about, Emily gave us an information pack on Back On Track which talks about BOT and includes exercises and games. She also suggested some books that we look at for more information on forum theatre and games, for example, 'Games for Actors and Non Actors' by Augusto Boal.
At the Oval House Theatre, there is the Youth Arts Group, where people are there because they want to do Drama. We may also run a workshop with them, but we can make it more advanced for them. Emily talked to us about the differences between BOT groups and Oval's group, BOT groups deal with more personal issues, helping towards life's situations, anyone can contribute to what the sessions are based on. Everyone has a choice in the groups and they can chose to participate or not. In Oval's group everyone has to participate and perform, the teacher chooses the themes and what will happen in the lessons and people are there to learn more about drama.
The group dynamics:
Norming: This is the first stage in a group, it is the norm. Everyone is introduced, they are nice to each other and are testing the water.
Storming: This is where the group divides. They either fall out with each other or fall out with the teacher.
Forming: The arguments and conflicts become less and the group starts to work together.
Performing: The group connects and works together.