Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bumblebees or bulldozers: a Forum Theatre workshop we ran at Wilderness Festival

Last weekend we were at Wilderness Festival, having a fantastic time running workshops and helping out at a beehive stall and a busking stage.

Photos and storifications will follow later this week, but I thought I'd start by sharing the plans for the workshop I facilitated, in the spirit of open source training. 

Oh, and thanks muchly to Ash, Tim and Rachel for all the help on the day, and to Niall for coming up with the original workshop on which our effort was based.

What’s that? I can decide what happens?

Yes. This is forum theatre – interactive political and social drama where the audience can step into the shoes of the actors to explore problems and find their own solutions to oppression, injustice or marginalisation.

How does it work?

We run through the play once. 
We ask you what could have happened differently
You (the audience) then either give us advice about how to play the roles differently.
Or …. you can step into our roles and play them differently 

We then start the play again, with the same cast or a different cast, depending on the audience's choices.

But this time, at any point you can shout STOP (don’t forget to wave the sign on the back of this sheet) and replace the current cast on stage to do things differently.

If you like the quick synopsis of the plot below, you can download the entire workshop outline here.

Bumblebees or bulldozers? False oppositions in Commuterville

Trouble is afoot in the county of Barsetshire, prime commuter belt country in the Home Counties around London. In the town of Barchester, developers plan a new housing development on an unused patch of land which belongs to the council where an old depot once stood. Since falling into disuse, the site has become an unofficial nature reserve, where there are unconfirmed sightings of the endangered Long-Horned Bee, to name but one example of wildlife found there.

But times are hard, and the council proposes to sell the land off for housing despite its value to nature and to the local community. The land will provide flats and homes for affluent commuters, but the council have made it clear that they will make it a condition of sale that affordable housing is also provided for local families and first time buyers

Some concerned local citizens have started a Friends of the Earth group to make the case for preserving the land as a nature reserve. And appearing on the Your Voice With Richard Roardean phone in show on Barsetshire FM will be their first appearance in the media – good luck to them!

They’ll need it.

The cast

Richard Roardean – the phone in DJ
Stewart Challis – the local councillor defending the land sale 
The protagonist – the local environmentalist opposing the land sale 
The Joker/Facilitator 
Sheila Hamilton - Optional extra character and concerned local 
Additional concerned members of the local area phoning in.

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