In 2016 CMW received funding from the South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner which would allow us the opportunity to work with victims of crime in South Wales.
Having previously run FORUM THEATRE training and workshops in North Wales, we thought this would be a fantastic opportunity for us to support the participants to share their experiences and develop coping skills in a safe environment as well as giving them a platform for debate and the ability to create social change.
FORUM THEATRE gives the audience an opportunity to take part in or change the outcomes of a short play, allowing them to stop scenes (usually during a scene where a character is being oppressed) and to suggest different ways in which the character can react or replace the actor with themselves. This creates a lot of discussion about the issues presented in the play as well as providing a creative output. This is all facilitated by a “Joker”, who steers the discussion whilst also providing food for thought amongst the participant.
We began the project with a week-long FORUM THEATRE facilitator training course in Cardiff where participants investigated the theory and practice of FORUM THEATRE. Several simple games and exercises centred on trust, confidence and group integration were introduced.
Working in partnership with Women’s Aid, we worked with some of their participants as well as others to build on their skill set. The participants will go on to shadow an experienced FORUM THEATRE Tutor in workshops with young people they currently support. Hopefully this will allow Women’s Aid to expand the services they have available and to make the workshops sustainable following the funded project.
The participants looked at how to devise a FORUM THEATRE piece and how to conduct a public Forum session.
The week culminated with a performance of the FORUM THEATRE pieces devised by the group to an invited audience of friends. The performance went very well and discussed issues from “Brexit” to domestic violence.
We are continuing our work with Women’s Aid in Cardiff, moving on to workshops with participants who may have witnessed domestic violence and allowing them the freedom to discuss their oppressions through a highly creative and collaborative means.
We are also looking to work in Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil, continuing this fantastic project and allowing more trainees to shadow the more experienced FORUM THEATRE tutors.