- Transmission & Post-War BELGRADE 2001
- 10 Years of HYDRAMA (2003 – 2013)
- The ‘FURTIVE LIFE’ Project
- EKKNA – Avlona Prison
- Korydallos Psychiatric Prison
- Northland Youth Centre 2014
- In Sync 2014
- Oakland University 2015
The Transmission Workshops in 2000 were conducted by the Education Department of the National Theatre of London. It was a project funded by the EU and the objective here was to increase the employability of actors in society. A team of ‘experts’ was called upon to conduct workshops to artists from Europe on areas not directly connected to the arts. These areas were titled, ‘Third (3rd) Sector’ areas and included, prisons, rehab centres, hospitals, museums, business environments or any other environment beyond the stage, television and cinema. The workshops in London were a theoretical insight to the above-mention areas and as a follow up to these workshops, each participant had a placement position to apply the theory to practice.
My placement position led me to Post-war Belgrade were I conducted theatre workshops in 10 institutions to homeless orphans of all ages ranging from pre-school through to college students. The workshops I have conducted since 2001 in Belgrade have opened an entirely new perception for me about theatre and my involvement. Sharing knowledge and experience with others has become my main objective as an artist and has led me to new paths in my career and a greater appreciation of my art.
The following report titled ‘Transmitting in Belgrade’, documents this experience.
In July of 2003 I conducted a theatre workshop to students from the United States who participated in the ‘Playing to the Gods’ course offered by the Hydrama Theatre and Arts Centre in Greece. Since then I conducted workshops every summer to students, teachers, actors (professionals and amateurs) who would travel to the island of Hydra in Greece to participate in the summer courses that were offered by the centre. These courses offered both a theoretical and practical approach to Ancient Greek Drama and culminated in a presentation and performances of the work.
The Acting to the Gods course was a 2-week intensive acting course in which a play was staged in its entirety at the end of the 2 weeks.
ACTive LEARNing. Theatre in Education courses were also conducted to teachers from abroad. Theatre principles and exercises were used in order to gain a better understanding of how these techniques can assist teachers in the classroom.
Refer to the link below for more information.
In 2010 I was instructed by my director at the time, Mr Theodoros Terzopoulos of the Attis Theatre Company to conduct workshops with a group of migrant primary school children. The children attended a multicultural school in Athens which was known for its high percentage of migrant students. The objective here was to work with the children and present a text titled, ‘Furtive Life’. The text was written by Thanasis Alevras, a collegue of mine from the Attis Theatre Company. This alarming text, abstract and minimal in form became even more powerful from the mouths of the young 5th and 6th grade children. The performance was staged as a ‘lesson’ that the children deliver to the audience who would be seated in the small student desks. The text was delivered in both Greek and their native languages. Having less than 4 months of contact with them twice a week and only for 90 minutes per session, the amazing result achieved by these young thespians in their performance of this text, was an experience I will cherish for years to come.
Below are two excerpts of the text that have been translated to English
|Take my hand||Cut me I’m going out|
|My malady||Break me I’m coming in|
|make way||Open I lose|
|lay the game out||Such freedom|
|make room for me||do what with|
|stretching out darkness||I become empty|
|behind the door||Take me out|
|the night is trauma||We are out|
|dawn again||The feast begins|
|hope again||Door closed|
|your first caress||Useless sleep|
|behind the door||White tickets|
|now you sense me||Go where now|
|behind the door||You then elsewhere|
|the feast begins||Me then you|
|wait for me to come|
|amidst empty carriages|
|Standing before doors|
|locked from inside|
|and the cop prostate|
|With no oxygen|
By Thanasis Alevras
Ειδικό Κατάστημα Κράτησης Νέων Αυλώνα
(Avlona Special Detention Centre for Youth)
In October of 2010 I started a voluntary theatre workshop program in the Avlona Special Detention Centre for Youth. This prison is a facility for young males aged between 15 to 21 years of age. My intention was to enter the prison and collaborate with an existing network which in this case would be the primary school that operates inside the prison walls. From the primary school and working with the Principal of the school Mr. Nikos Armenis, I would select a final group of 20 inmates who would be the first to participate in the workshop. The objective was a systematic approach to these young males, using theatre exercises in order to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their predicament. Soon enough this theatre workshop became a hub of classes and performances including dance, acrobatics, and capoeira. In the 3 years that I ran the workshop, we staged 3 productions, performed over 20 times inside the prison to visitors from Athens and even travelled via police escort to other prisons to perform. These were the Korydallos Adult Male Prison in Athens, The Korydallos Psychiatric Prison and the Thiva Detention Centre for Women.
The link bellow is from the prison website and has photos from rehearsals from both starting point and the return
Epanodos is an NGO that is set up to accommodate the needs of released prisoners in Athens Greece. It is the only one of its kind in Athens and primarily would assist released prisoners with housing, employment, food and transport. In mid-2013 I was approached by this organisation to conduct theatre workshops for its members. After several discussions with the people of Epanodos regarding the aims and objectives of the workshops, we began a 3 month workshop from October to December. The workshop culminated in performance and is now an ongoing workshop offered by the organisation.
One of the venues that the inmates of the Avlona theatre company performed in was the Korydallos Psychiatric Prison. During the contact I had with the Director of the prison Mrs. Gerou, she asked me if I could assist them with a workshop they wanted to conduct for some of the inmates. I leaped at the opportunity and agreed to conduct a theatre workshop for a selected group. The workshop was conducted in conjunction with the social services office. The interesting aspect of this workshop is that the participants would bring their own written material and the small scale presentation at the end was all their own work. The presentation consisted of poetry, song and drama and was titled, ‘Christine’s Party’.
One of the many projects run at the Northland Youth Centre is the Diversionary Program. It is run for a group of high risk youth who come in to the centre once a week. This specific project was co-created by the participants and was about a good friend the boys had lost in a car accident. They decided to create a DVD dedication about him and offer this to his family as a sign of respect and remembrance. Through this creative process the boys come in touch with their feelings about their loss and deal with the reality of life and the choices we make.
In Sync (2014) is a theatre based workshop conducted in a local facility in Victoria. It is designed to engage prisoners who experience barriers to communication. The workshop focusses on the participant’s ability to work in groups and increase their self-esteem and confidence levels.
This one day intensive workshop dealt with some of the ‘contemporary’ themes in Greek Tragedy and examined an approach to them via a physical process. Themes such as loss and fate were considered, as we become more aware of global issues which affect us all. Students from the theatre and dance department from Oakland University participated in this workshop.