Around 15 people participated in the Theatre Lab held in Budapest, some of whom were already familiar with theatre methods and all of whom were involved in integration and/or refugee issues.
The Theatre Lab in Budapest focused on the effects of the rather difficult current political conditions in Hungary on the people working in the field of refugee relief and/or integration work, either professionally or voluntarily.
The Theatre Lab in Budapest focused on the effects of the rather difficult current political conditions in Hungary on the people working in the field of refugee relief and/or integration work, either professionally or voluntarily. During the lab, it became obvious that the spread of mainstream opinions and media propaganda are creating a „common opinion“ about a „homogenous“ Hungary with „zero migrants“ that this propaganda is affecting the everyday life of people living there. With reference to the current autocratic political situation, the group experimented with creating complex and dramatic images to visualize how to deconstruct power. Surprisingly, extremely little things like eye-contact or saying a nice word in a crucial moment could change a lot. Just as in Ljubljana, we saw, how important it is that human rights organisations, activists and civil society connect and cooperate with one another. But this is often difficult because of the financial and legal restrictions that these organisations operate under.
In the „US and THEM“ - Rainbow of Desire session, conflicts within a relationship, the family and the work were acted out. The following questions arose: how can one live with a partner who is politically completely uninterested and how can one deal with family members who are against your refugee and integration work? Polarizing situations also frequently occur in the professional integration work. A story was told of what happened when a colleague in a partner institution shared and expressed some of the mainstream anti-migrant opinions. The other members of this institution asked themselves how they could cooperate with someone who believed that the people with whom they are working don’t deserve support in any sense? How could (team)work continue without losing a sense of constructive relationship?
How can the point of the view of the other be understood if it conflicts with personal feelings, values and the sense of identity?
Feedback from participants:
„It was a great opportunity to reflect on my own work“
„A creative and wonderful group, which worked on issues with great relevance: would be
great, to have this kind of theatrical reflexion and intervention regularly“
„I want more of it, it is so liberating to work with the body“
Benefits from Common Ground Theatre Lab
For Artemisszió, the Common Ground Theatre Lab was important experience for multiple reasons. We greatly appreciated getting the opportunity to reflect on our professional work in social integration collectively with our volunteers and partners from a different angle. Focusing both on collective images and individual stories of situations that could happen to any of us was both fruitful and revealing, even if it is sometimes frustrating and challenging to work with people who have experienced oppressive situations. The Theatre of the Oppressed is an important framework for our association, and it was highly inspiring to work with Michael and the team of InterACT.