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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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Totally Worth It – from Sierra Weppla

Totally Worth It – from Sierra Weppla

Sierra Weppla was sponsored by RtR to attend the Downstate Festival in Zurich to present her work … here’s a little note we received back …

“Festival went, I would say, incredibly well. I came back with empty bag. All the prints, stickers and copies went. Besides that, I met incredible artists and performers from across the Europe. It came out to be super international – people came from Greece, Germany, Netherlands and all around. A fellow tattoo artist who I met in the fest invited me to come to Tattoo Circus – a benefit for prisoners in Thessaloniki. Flights paid – accommodation sorted. Alongside exhibiting and selling, I made around 10 tattoos in the wagon which Festival organiser prepared for me. This will allow me to pay for my studio and start to work on new series of paintings. Thanks RtR!”

A Wild Weekend In Zurich – from George F

A Wild Weekend In Zurich – from George F

 

“The four books I brought I sold or swapped with other artists for their work, the 20 zines reduced to 3, and a pot full of donations and contacts from across Europe … In addition, we saw some amazing performers, and confused a room full of people with my own particular brand of rapid-fire poetry. Apparently, spoken word is not so big in Switzerland. 🙂 Highlights included seeing an old friend from squatting in a furniture store five years ago, meeting a member of the Mutoid Waste Company, and seeing a pair perform a song about orgasms whilst dressed as a penis and a vagina. We also made contacts with artists from Marseille, Lausanne and Berlin and discussed the possibility of future collaborations in those locations and in London, aswell as the potential to travel to Canada to work with indigenous communities as a solidarity project.

Thanks to everyone at Downstate Festival, and to RtR for all the support.”

Check out some photos here.

Escape From London – from Sierra Weppla

Escape From London – from Sierra Weppla

George F and Sierra Weppla were sponsored by RtR to attend the Downstate Festival at KochAreal in Zurich – one of the largest autonomous spaces in Europe …

 

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“I have been working every single day for a couple of weeks until late night in order to bring enough art pieces, zines, posters and other diy stuff to the festival. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, nor how will things go as it was organised for the first time. In my opinion it could have been a total fiasco or a super nice festival. But was worth it to risk.

RtR funding helped me to prepare for the fest – I had enough money to buy paper, printer toners and not to worry about not having enough copies for sale/swaps, in case the festival was going to go very well. In the end, because of the funding I was able to carry about 80 A3 posters, 10 A1 posters, about 50 copies of self-published zine, and help to print out about 30copies of George’s zines.”

 

Check out some photos here.

Heading To Downstate – from George F.

Heading To Downstate – from George F.

George F and Sierra Weppla were sponsored to attend the Downstate Festival in Zurich by RtR to present their works …

 

From George F.

 

“We lost in court the week before, and had spent a week running around trying to find a new place to live, with no success. Exhausted but determined, we spent the last day traipsing across London – attending an eviction resistance in the morning which drove the bailiffs off, before returning to Borough to collect our belongings, then delivering them to East Ham by bike to a safe storage space, before rushing back to collect the dog and take it to our friends’ place in Bow. In East Ham, the laptop we were going to use to print our flight tickets exploded, reducing us to panicky, stressed tears as we tried to find a 24-hour print shop. After delivering the dog, we marched to Liverpool Street, arriving just on time at 3am. There were two buses, and people in two-different coloured hi-viz vests were chatting in a relaxed fashion outside one, so I assumed this was for both coach companies. They made a joke about the cheaper one being crap, and as we scanned through our phone for the pdf of the ticket, our bus pulled away … Refusing to be cowed, we spent another £8 on tickets and made it to the airport … Without the extra funding from RtR we would never have been able to make it!”

On Crack, To Berlin, In The Forest – from Sierra Weppla

On Crack, To Berlin, In The Forest – from Sierra Weppla

From sponsored artist Sierra Weppla on her experience

CRACK festival
I have been planning to go to the Crack festival for a several years now. But it was always hard to find finances to carry all the artworks that I wanted to present and art materials. As on the air plane it would mean a lot of additional costs. This year, because of Reboot the Roots funding, I was finally able to satisfy my dream. In addition it created an opportunity to take as many and as heavy artworks as I could, including paints and other art materials, as me and my fellow artists were going by the car.

The festival itself is an amazing space full of non commercially driven extraordinary creative autonomous artists from all over the Europe and even overseas. I had a great opportunity to meet a lot of creative activists that I have never heard before of. The organizers provided me an exhibiting space in one of the cells (where exhibition was taking place) where I had more than enough room to widely display my artworks and even share it with my fellow artists. During the exhibiting time other artists came to speak with me in order to swap patches, zines, comic books and drawings. The doors opened for future projects, including invitation to submit works for a few upcoming comic books along with a satisfied and happy words from organizer of the event about exhibiting next year.

 

 

BERLIN
As the CRACK festival went so well, next stop was Berlin, the Rigaerstrasse 25th anniversary. As I mentioned before, I was able to carry with me all the way from Rome to Berlin sketch books, boxes of paints and brushes and spray cans. It was extremely important in order to be able to create something on the spot. I have been given permission to do the mural on one of the buildings (where festival was taking place) wall.

 

 

HAMBACHER FORST

Arts festival in the occupied protest camp near to Cologne was carrying a lot of different workshops during the week, which I was able to attend and participate in. I have been asked to paint a big mural on the building wall which was sharing freeshop and library inside. I used the same materials that I was carrying all the way, along with the ones organizers provided me. Further, the forest occupation inspired me so much, that it will be highly reflected in my future’s creativity as a main subject.

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!