What We Do
Reboot the Roots – empowering change through dialogue
Reboot the Roots is a charity that promotes social inclusion through the arts. We use theatre, music and workshops to support people who are denied their rights to full, happy and active participation in society. This includes those recovering from addiction, people with experience of homelessness or statelessness, and individuals who have been in conflict with the law.
Our current work includes:
Facilitating workshops with the socially excluded – people who are detached from broader society and prevented from leading what we might call a normal, healthy life.
Training other organisations and NGOs in techniques of art for inclusion, giving them the skills to go on and train others. Using our expertise in this area and collaborating with other skilled facilitators, we offer programmes of engaging, effective workshops to help anyone use art for social change.
Supporting other practitioners to achieve their goals through logistical support, consultation and funding.
“Theatre is a form of knowledge; it should and can also be a means of transforming society. Theatre can help us build our future, rather than just waiting for it.” – Augusto Boal, Games For Actors & Non-Actors
We believe that creative tools for social transformation can end alienation and exclusion, enabling people to participate fully and equally in society.
To find out more, please get in touch.
Who we are
Reboot the Roots was established by a group of friends in 2010. Today, it is run by voluntary trustees and our Creative Director, George.
George Wielgus – Creative Director
George is a practitioner of the Theatre of the Oppressed, writer, performance poet and natural farmer who has travelled extensively across Europe and Asia working with groups ranging from the homeless in London, subsistence farmers in India, victims of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, to recovering heroin addicts and street kids in Kuala Lumpur. He has a decade of experience as a facilitator and educator in fields ranging from TESOL and dramatherapy to drug rehabilitation and conflict resolution. He qualified in his Certificate in Joker Training and Certificate in Rainbow of Desire whilst working with Cardboard Citizens in 2010.
Richard Julian – Chair of Trustees
Richard worked at ‘SGOSS – Governors for Schools’ from 2007 to 2014 doing numerous jobs for the UK’s leading school governor recruitment charity. He has experience of marketing, communications, fundraising, leading campaigns, recruitment, business development and more. During this time he completed his MA with distinction in Charity Management at St. Mary’s University, Twickenham. In 2014, Richard began volunteering for Abriendo Mentes, a community education charity based in Playa Potrero, Costa Rica. This has since led to a full-time position of Development Director. Richard has also fundraised for Guildford Hockey Club, consulted for the Wandsworth Care Alliance and been a School Governor at Gorringe Park Junior School.
Abigail Sampson – Trustee
Abigail is Director of Casa Brasilito, a project in rural Guanacaste, Costa Rica, working to create a safe and welcoming environment to promote participation in and enthusiasm for learning, raise the aspirations of the community and empower individuals to shape their own future. Day to day this involves working with the local Spanish speaking community to coordinate a programme of events, raise the profile of the organisation, encourage support from local businesses and manage volunteers. Abigail has experience from the UK and abroad in proposal writing, project management and fundraising but lately has taken a keen interest in impact measurement and working towards finding better ways to demonstrate the impact of community development work. In her spare time Abigail enjoys making the most of the tropical beaches near her house, exploring Costa Rica and brushing up her Spanish skills.
Paul Wielgus – Trustee
Paul is founder and director of Social Innovation, an organisation that facilitates change and encourages leaders to adopt business activities with an ethical foundation and sustainability aspirations, through “innovative engagement” techniques. Paul has over 40 years global experience across a wide range of different countries and cultures working with diverse clients in industry, as well as charity and NGO sector. This includes one to one coaching of individuals specifically through Dragonfly Coaching For Life and Dragonfly Spiritual Mentoring. Paul’s passion for the life changing powers of meditation is a key part of these activities, as well as his vocation as a meditation teacher , which he offers both locally through a project called (Medicine For a Happy Life), as well as internationally as a trained facilitator for The Foundation For the Development of Compassion and Wisdom, a global institution dedicated to Universal Education, which has the Dalai Lama as its patron. Paul has a Masters in Responsibility and Business Practice from Bath University and also utilises the Action Inquiry principles taught by this degree course in his facilitation activities.
Luci Sanan – Trustee
Luci is a senior consultant in the international television industry, having developed and sold television programmes globally. Luci provides strategic and commercial advice to companies in the content industry. Luci is a passionate animal lover and holds a diploma in Canine Behaviour & Psychology and an accreditation as a dog trainer, and together with her husband runs as dog training and day care facility. Luci provides volunteer assistance for dog rescue centres around the south east. Always a keen traveller, Luci has travelled extensively around the world, participating in numerous charity projects including teaching in Vietnam and monitoring turtle breeding in Australia. Luci lives with her husband, Pierre in rural Bedfordshire with three dogs, chickens and ducks. In her spare time Luci enjoys reading, running and traveling.
Shumi Bose – Trustee
Batu Arang Shelter Home, 2010-2014
Between 2010 and 2014, Reboot the Roots funded and managed a residential shelter home in the village of Batu Arang, just outside of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The home provided not only food, a place to stay and medical care to around a dozen residents, but was also a base of operations for training in forum theatre and art therapy.
Frequently hosting guests from around the world who came to share their skills, the residents were also active in outreach work, performing hundreds of times in schools, rehabilitation centres and to the general public on issues of drug addiction, social exclusion and sexual health. The residents were in recovery for drug addiction, and several of them were living with HIV. We trained them in forum theatre, performance poetry, and encouraged them to write songs and perform them publically. The shelter home became the genesis of the model that Reboot the Roots now espouses – that art can be used successfully by anyone to express and enact change, both personal and social, through dialogue and creativity.
Since 2014, the shelter home in Batu Arang has become independently funded by the activities of residents and the extended network around it. This developed out of people with experience of social exclusion joining Reboot the Roots and training in skills which now generate an income to support the shelter home.
We maintain links with the shelter home and its residents, but know the importance of allowing autonomy and growth in the projects we help foster. We are delighted to say that this is now a fully autonomous and self-funded project. We wish all our friends in Malaysia all the best with the journey ahead!
Reboot: Penang Festival, December 2011
In December 2011, in association with the Commonwealth Foundation, the residents of the Batu Arang centre were joined by international artists from the UK, Spain and Australia in the world heritage site of the Chew Jetties in Georgetown, Penang. For two weeks, Reboot the Roots organised site-specific workshops, performances and excursions designed to engage and empower both the visitors and the inhabitants of Chew Jetty, generating dialogue through the arts. Attendees of Nursalam Krashpad – a drop-in centre for youth in Kuala Lumpur – also attended the festival and participated with local youth in performances and workshops.
The workshops varied from theatre, to mask-painting, to movement and dance, plus photography and games designed to help people experience the location and gain a deeper understanding of their relationship to the environment.
This project was a massive success for us and a perfect example of what we can achieve on a limited budget.
Cambodia Reconciliation Forum Theatre Training, June 2014
In June, 2014, Reboot the Roots went to Phnom Penh to work with reconciliation NGO Kdei Karuna, who had requested a five-day training in forum theatre so they could use the technique for their work in reparation between Khmer Rouge cadre members and their victims in rural Cambodia.
We provided a detailed plan of the week in advance to Kdei Karuna with examples of the work they would be doing and the outcomes they could expect. Our experienced and talented Artistic Director worked with the group for 5 days and everyone involved evaluated the programme as a massive success.
“I really enjoyed the sessions, for the first time I didn’t fall asleep during a training session!”
Please read our blog for the latest news from Reboot the Roots.