The Common Ground Theatre Labs mainly use tools based on participatory methods from “Theatre of the Oppressed” and “Theatre for Living”:
Common Ground – Theatre Workshop:
Facing Challenging Situations and Conflicts
The Common Ground theatre workshop uses participatory and community building theatre tools to explore challenging and difficult situations encountered during refugee relief and integration work. Games and exercises support group-building and theatre techniques open a space that allows them to explore conflicts, challenges and moments of exclusion and polarization, as well as find solutions. One aim of the workshops is to explore transformative actions and strategies and increase their visibility. The workshops also provide spaces for networking, information exchange and reflection on issues that are sometimes “hard to talk about”. No previous experience in theatre or acting is necessary! One only needs willpower and an interest in being together with others, using creative theatre tools and sharing real life experience with others.
Common Ground – “Us and Them”:
Interactive Theatre Event based on “Rainbow of Fears and Desires”
This interactive theatre event is also open to the public. As part of this event, the audience – including all participants from the workshop – are invited to actively reflect on real life situations in which the construction of “Us and Them” has led to the formation of a gap between people. What divided and drove us apart during these moments? This event is an intensive and entertaining way to deal with processes of polarization in a theatrical setting.
The theatre event is based on the technique of “Rainbow of Fears and Desires” (Theatre of the Oppressed, Augusto Boal) and has been mainly inspired by the specification “Us and Them” by David Diamond (Theatre for Living).
Common Ground – Messages:
Sharing Insights and Strategies
The participants of the workshop and the public interactive theatre event are invited to share one short, important insight/message of their “real-life- experience” or of a process they underwent during the theatre lab. The message is related to successful strategies for or stories about coping with challenging situations or building bridges in polarizing situations in the field of refugee relief. The stories could contain phrases like: “At that moment, I stood up …, I didn’t know what to do …, I witnessed somebody doing …, we reacted in this way and this happened …”, and so on.
The storytellers are closely accompanied by the team, and the statements will be filmed at a specific location with a special background. The storyteller chooses in which way he/she can be seen or to remain anonymous. These filmed statements are put on the common ground website and on YouTube, so they also can be shared and disseminated via social media channels. By sharing strategiesthey used and positive examples of how they transformed challenging situations, these can become a source of transnational, cross-border inspiration and encouragement, a kind of a “know-how- pool”.