Tag Archives: Iulia Benze

Solidarity Is Our Weapon – RtR Newsletter August

Solidarity Is Our Weapon – RtR Newsletter August

Dear friends, allies and accomplices,

Hello to you all! Welcome to our irregular Reboot The Roots newsletter …

In these times of Brexit and growing hostility to persons from other places, RTR proudly stands for solidarity with all oppressed peoples, and continues to champion the use of creative arts practices to promote multicultural harmony. We believe in direct action and unremitting creative resistance to all forms of domineering behaviour.

As long as there is an oppressed, we are on their side.

It has been one of our busiest years yet, with over a dozen new associate artists and facilitators sponsored by RtR to do what they do best – create and facilitate social and personal transformation through the arts! However, a key feature of that work this year has been to do with self-care, burnout, and creating resilience.

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Highlights include:

-workshops for 60+ people at the COP21 protests in Paris in December, taking a de-escalation bloc (BEEVA BLOC!) to the streets in clown-army fashion to keep the cops on their best behaviour whilst supporting the family friendly and accessible atmosphere.

– a dozen change-agents from across Europe trained in theatre of the oppressed at Ecodharmain October, exploring how we can use Rainbow of Desire and forum theatre to promote unity and liberation.

– we visited Budapest twice to deliver a two-week theatre project around the theme of response to the refugee crisis, returning again to explore therapeutic theatre for healing in February.

– we funded artists to attend festivals in Switzerland and Greece to exhibit their artworks and perform in autonomous spaces, in support of anti-elitism and prisoner solidarity.

– we supported facilitators to return to Cluj in Romania to deliver workshops on the feedback method, feminist history and theatre for social change.

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But we’re not through yet!– in August, RtR is partnering with the Eroles Project to facilitate two weeks of arts-activism on the theme of borders and creating resilience in these troubled times, providing funding and training for a team of facilitators to work with a team members to explore how to keep on keeping on in the face of burn-out and sometimes overwhelming resistance.

– still upcoming this year, we will rejoin Focus Atelier for the inaugural platform event in Chiesenau, in the Republic of Moldava. This will be the first time RtR and Associatia Reciproca are holding this event in one of the poorest countries in Europe.

– we hope to attend the Berlin Tattoo Circus in September with associate artist Sierra Weppla and Creative Director George Wielgus to support prisoners and generate dialogue around the injustice system through Theatre of the Oppressed.

– for this year’s Theatre of the Oppressed Training Week in Ecodharma, Cataluyna, we want to sponsor two emerging facilitators to attend to expand our network and support their development as trainers and artists.

– in 2017, we will launch the Ouroboros Exhibition in London – our first major UK Project – featuring a range of multidisciplinary artists with experience of social exclusion. The theme is around creative responses to the destructive nature of crisis. Watch this space for the upcoming indiegogo campaign and future updates.

 

 

How You CaTeatru-Forum-si-Teatru-Invizibil-Focus-Atelier-44n Help

– join us! On September 4th we are having our annual general meeting for all our members and supporters. More details to follow but feel free to write to us to express an interest.

Solidarity is our weapon. Come vote on our decisions, stand to be a trustee, pitch us an idea, get involved, you are most welcome, the house is yours!

– share our website & social media to promote our work

– write something for our blog on your experience. Did you attend a workshop or performance? Has RtR helped you? We would love to hear about it …

sign up as a regular donor … as little as £2 a week will help us to continue to support the development of artists with experience of social cohesion, assisting them to gain access to new audiences and achieve our vision of a united, multicultural society.

bung us some cash … one-off donations make up nearly 50% of our funding each year. Maybe you participated in one of our free workshops and enjoyed it, maybe you were funded yourself to attend something, now we need your contributions to make these amazing events keep happening!

– watch out for our upcoming indiegogo campaign to raise £3500 to host a multidisciplinary arts exhibition in Tower Bridge in 2017, featuring a range of artists from socially excluded backgrounds.

We couldn’t do this without each other,

Love and solidarity, and many thanks to all the people who have touched our lives,

The RtR Bloc

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Summer In Hungary (4) – from Iulia Benze

Summer In Hungary (4) – from Iulia Benze

Iulia Benze on her final day presenting a course on Identity Deconstruction at a festival in Hungary.

 

We started the Sunday with a session of Yoga outside, in nature, held by E. and S.

Two new people joined us, Anjan and Andy. Anjan was really worried for her, he asked me if I could help her as she was constantly crying and being depressed. Our entire session (the last one for that series in Cserhatszentivan) changed, trying to include her into the warm-up and Barba sticks. Her will to get into the workshop was very weak, other members tried to include her as well. I instructed her into the Barba Sticks movements, even though she was lacking concentration and it felt she wasn’t there. At a certain moment, in our struggle to connect with her, she hit the lamp smashing it into loads of glass pieces and that seems to have represented for her the relief point and liberation time that she needed. After that, she decided to leave. Anjan remained with us.

We ended our last session with Grotowski movements turning it into an improv free dance contact where we all kept contact with each other until we found an ending on the floor, all silent, still and breathing together. We also had a few minutes of meditation and after that the final discussions.
As a human and artist, I am extremely grateful for this opportunity created to go in Hungary, Cserhatszentivan and facilitate workshops in my own practice. I met wonderful people, professionals in their own domains, and we all laughed and cried together and I was able to share from my knowledge. I am mostly a performer, I never facilitated a workshop by myself before; this time I was oscillating between being a performer and a facilitator and many times I was asking myself if it is going to work, because of the intense nature of the practice. Towards my amazement, it did work, I did manage to keep those entities separated and to make them harmoniously function together, bringing a lot of discipline to me, as an artist and individual. In this new position, I also learnt how to take care of people around me, how to listen and understand their needs.

It was a wonderful experience for everyone and now we are working together towards booking future workshops in Budapest, in November this year.

Summer In Hungary (3) – from Iulia Benze

Summer In Hungary (3) – from Iulia Benze

Iulia Benze reports on delivering an intensive movement and drama course at a festival in Hungary …

We started by cleaning the space and including the new people into the work. We had A. and V. After the warm-up, V. retired thanking us and saying this is ‘not really his thing’.

We continued with Barba Sticks and emotions. Everybody brought their level of emotion to a certain place, E. let go and with control she managed to reach that point that I was talking about.

Taking advantage of the emotional and physical flexibility achieved, next exercise was Loneliness Exercise. I performed in front of them the exercise, taught the movements and then for 10 minutes it was their time to explore the loneliness within themselves. Being in a small space has its advantages, also when 9 people are doing Loneliness exercise in that cramped space it can be very intense and intimate so after that we had a session of discussions about what we discovered, felt etc.
Circle of positive energy. Everybody complimented, positively argued and justified being in a circle and hugged.

After break, we explored ways to climb a person by one or two individuals, preparatory movements for a Photo Project (photographer Roland Kajcsa) that is still in process of editing. A few photos are available already on Facebook.

Summer In Hungary (2) – from Iulia Benze

Summer In Hungary (2) – from Iulia Benze

Iulia Benze reports from the theatrical frontline of a music festival in Hungary …

 

Following day we had the same people coming plus new ones. We were 13 in total. We worked outside in the garden (open space-turned out to be a bit different from the previous day), as we were more people and we couldn’t all fit in the room. Our meeting started from 10am and finished at 3 pm. Introduction of new members, speaking about likes and dislikes. We talked about identity and I filmed them while they were answering the question What is Identity for you?

After warm-up (rotations, spine, push-ups, plank etc), it was time for a new exercise, which was the Slaps. We created a big circle in the garden and we all counted together, as loud as possible, 500 slaps. The levels of concentration and dedication to this type of task differed from one participant to another, which made me launch for them questions about identity in relation to endurance and discipline.

By this point, we had a few of the new people dropping out from the workshop (Kata, Reka and Sophia-for being too tired from the first night of the festival; and Csaba for having other work responsibilities, as one of the organizers of the festival)

We remained 9.

Still outside, we continued with Barba sticks and while I was introducing new people to the principles of this exercise, because of the lack of space, the one day old participants were allowed to tackle this exercise in a different room of the house by themselves, relying on their own discipline, assuming responsibility and taking risks without being supervised. At my suggestion but also listening to their intuition and spirit of exploration, they started alternating hands and vocalizing when playing this. As they admitted as well, it is a different type of experiencing the Barba sticks and the unknown/risk, implicitly fear, increases when the facilitator is not there.

At this stage, the inevitable happened and one of our participants, B, in doing the task with A, got slightly hit in the head, shocking her system and making her feelings and frustration explode. She kept hiding, swallowing her anger, and I continued the game with her to help her letting all out. Everybody stopped and watched, witnessing in amazement the next level they needed to reach with Barba sticks.

After that, we all made a circle in the sunny garden as it was time and we needed to talk. Everybody shared their opinions about Barba sticks, everybody had new discoveries and this time subjects like pain, hit, being hit were talked about. We were happy for the new that just opened and we decided to go inside to continue with Grotowski movements in which everybody was extremely connected to each other and taking care of their partners.

Taking advantage of the heat in our bodies, flexibility was pushed to its limits through exercises and then we cooled down through a massage and care in pairs, opening new levels of excitement, enthusiasm for the next day of workshop to come.

Summer In Hungary (1) – from Iulia Benze

Summer In Hungary (1) – from Iulia Benze

Iulia Benze was sponsored by Reboot The Roots to attend a festival in Hungary to present …

The Alternative Series Workshops Reboot The Roots in Cserhatszentivan, Hungary, July 2015

2nd of July: 8 participants. We worked in a very small room, in an old house and I had to adapt the exercises of Identity Deconstruction for that old living room (it was an old traditional living room), with lamp hanging down from the middle of the ceiling.

We started with everyone introducing themselves and talking about any injuries as well, as a mean of preparing them for what it will come and assuming responsibility. It followed up by a warm-up session and a game throwing a shoe to each other and calling our colleagues by name in the same time.

We continued with Barba Sticks, everybody was extremely careful with each other but in the same time enjoying the task very much. I went with all the participants through the instruction of this exercise. I allocated a longer training into this to D., who later on told me he was autistic and how much this experience helped him so much.

After working with discipline and staccato movements, I wanted to relax the atmosphere with fluid dance like movements through Grotowski movements which turned into trans improv contact dance and I was very pleased to see that from our first session participants weren’t shy to interact/touch while flowing in the space. That created a beautiful balance with what we did earlier.

Going in the same direction, we also tackled the exercise of Positive Energy Cycle (positive argue-justify) and it revealed a lot of aspects to some participants.

We ended our four hour session with meditation and discussions regarding what we did, felt or learnt.

In the end, we managed very well to work and fill the space, the room gave us a certain intimacy, in fact it forced every one of us to continue moving and to enjoy the proximity of our partners, and it facilitated some really intense and high perspiration level sessions, leaving participants wanting and asking for more hours in the session per day.

Some of them told me that our first session of Alternative Series of Workshops just made them change their mind about going back home from the festival, which was predominantly based on concerts, as they weren’t enjoying it very much because of the lack of theatre experiences. So I was very pleased to see that, as an artist, first time facilitating these workshops by myself, I managed to offer to participants some fulfilling experiences that made them change their minds about leaving and also spread the word about the intense work we are doing; at the end of the festival, many people approached me intrigued about what we were doing, asking information, some of them giving it go, some of them not, some just coming with outside personal issues thinking that they can be resolved with a session of workshops. Little they knew though that this requires a longer process!