Semat is a youth theatre company based in Jakarta who, supported by search for common ground, came together to work on issues of communal and inter-communal conflict. We were asked to provide training in developing and devising theatre intervention work to empower semat to work within their own communities in developing peace building activities.
This 3 month residency brought together young people from 3 ethnic groups living in and around bujanovac (albanian, roma & serbian) in order to provide regular creative sessions and to eventually present to a mixed audience a quality piece of theatre addressing issues of ethnic divides. The process was made difficult by conflicting school schedules (along ethnic lines) local municipal elections (which was fought along ethic lines) and a general lack of activity for and attention to young people which do not follow traditional ethnic partitions.
Aceh in northern sumatra was one of the regions most affected by the 2004 tsunami. Prior to the devastation of the wave the area had been in the grips of a thirty year conflict which saw the region divided into sections which were controlled by either government or anti government (GAM) forces and factions. The tsunami to some extent signalled a new phase and lessening of tensions, clashes were replaced by cooperation.
Something in the balkans.
An ongoing cross community theatre project based in Banja Luka & Prijedor in Bosnia. Working with a group of 30 young adults from across Northern Bosnia, the project began with a number of training workshops exploring conflict management & human rights before beginning to apply what participants learnt in devising a theatre performance that was shown in Sanski Most (a Bosniak town in the Federation), Kosarac (a Bosniak community in Republika Srpska) & Prijedor (a mainly Serbian town). This process involved taking participants into areas they’d not previously visited.
Initially this project spent time with the cpcd (Centre for Peacebuilding and Community Development) counsellors who were delivering psycho social programmes for young people in 3 schools in north ossetia. The region has seen tensions for a long while, many predating the ingush ossetian conflicts of the early 90s, but especially so in the post beslan context.