Organised by ALDA in close co-operation with CRT Foundation and the University of Turin, the conference ‘ Crisis and renaissance – Local Community Theatre Paving the Way towards European Active Citizenship’ held on 22 May in Brussels raised awareness about the social and community theatre as a powerful tool for local communities in response to ongoing economic and social crisis.
Impressive visual and narrative presentations of the artistic and theatrical experience in the settlements across Europe showed the community efforts aimed to tackle the crisis and renaissance issues.
In her introductory notes, Ms. Barbara Gessler, Head of Department of Culture in EACEA stated the high relevance of the Caravan project more as the conceptual approach to challenges at local community development level and the bottom-up approach so much needed to ensure a more effective public space for the dialogue of EU citizens with the EU institutions, while the Project Manager Carlo Lingua gave a brief overview of the activities and results achieved during the Caravan local events and the Caravan artists on the road tour connecting Turin, Seville and Holstebro that have taken place over the last twelve months.
Mr. John Macdonald, Head of the Task Force for EYC 2013 reiterated the need for strengthened institutionalised forms of consultation with citizens at the European level and the need for creating of a new narrative for the European Union in support to the future perspective of the social innovation and culture in its broadest sense, rather than only to the narrative of the internal market or economic crisis. Examples of grass-root initiatives for improved participation and consultation forms in policy / decision making promoted by the Local Democracy Agencies were presented by Ms. Imislawa Gorska, Vicepresident of ALDA. She also included the city of Bydgosc promoting a wide range of youth actions aimed to cultural and artistic regeneration of local public spaces. In his presentation, Mr. Ionut Sibian, member of EESC raised a number of concerns related with insufficient involvement of NGO-s and their networks in consultation process at EU level.
During the second thematic panel the keynote speakers were Luisa De Amicis, Executive Director of EUCLID network, Alessandra Rossi Ghiglione, Project Caravan Community Theatre Supervisor, and Alberto Pagliarino, Project Caravan Artistic Director. EUCLID network’s main priority to assist to NGO-s to establish and maintain the dialogue for creating legislative and institutional framework in support to social entrepreneurship as a tool for introducing social innovation in addressing the crisis that has major impact on the excluded or marginalised groups.
Alessandra Rossi Ghiglione and Alberto Pagliarino gave an overview of social and community theatre concept as well as the specific SCT methodology studied at the University Turin. They presented the theoretical and artistic perspective of the concept that started as an experimentation but evolved over the past years to an intrinsic community response to alienation and crisis.
Case studies of the community theatres in action and the origin of their conception were presented in the third panel by Rita Maria Fabris (University of Turin), Ms. Mase Moreno (TNT Theatre Seville) and mr. Georgie Zlatarev (Theatre Vazrajdane, Sofia).
The conference ended with a practical workshop of community theatre by Professor Alessandra Rossi Ghiglione, which allowed the participants to experience the power of this tool on themselves during several group exercises and games.