Tag Archives: workshops

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!

International Theatre Day – Cluj, Romania

International Theatre Day – Cluj, Romania

In March 2015 RtR sponsored George to facilitate a series of workshops across Romania … here’s a report from his experience in Cluj.


We had spent a week designing and playing forums around ideas of freedom of expression. Through improvisation, we had explored the struggle of student workers and autonomist squatters in Cluj attempting to establish independent and non-hierarchical spaces. We had re-enacted riots, occupations, battled cops and capitalists and defended the rights of homosexual couples to express themselves intimately and publically. We had explored the oppressions of religion, of self-doubt, of the cops in our heads, attempting to find solutions to set ourselves and our companions free.

On International Theatre Day – a year and a day since students occupied Cluj University for two weeks of forum and self-actualisation – our little group of theatre artists hit the streets, unsure of what exactly might happen, but determined and prepared to find out. We played with invisible balls in the park, passing them to passerbys to returned them with a laugh. We rediscovered benches, lamp-posts and bins, converting them into make-shift percussion.We chased after each other for the sheer thrill of the chase.

Later, in the streets of Cluj, we staged an attempted bike theft from one of our own, and were shocked by the bold and indignant intervention of local street traders, who berated the ‘thief’ and chided the ‘owner’ for being so confident in leaving her bike unlocked. We provoked, and our actor afterwards was concerned that everyone in town would think him a thief. We talked as a group and decided, better to let them think it was real than be the boy who cried ‘wolf’. We had wanted to incite a response and had succeeded.

In the late afternoon, we wandered over to the National Theatre, where they were having an open day. In the grand interior we sat, mute and appalled, as some bespectacled elitists asked and answered their own questions on the relationship of theatre and society. Alienated by their monologue, we slipped out into the street and growing rain.

That night, 300 cyclists gathered in the Piata Uneri for the monthly Critical Mass. A horde of wheeled barbarians wheeled around the city, blocking traffic, taunting the police, sounding horns and chanting ‘bi-ci-cleta!’ as they reclaimed the roads. People smiled, waved from windows, realised their mistake as they tried to push through a crowd of militant cyclists with their car. A group of anarcha-feminists buzzed the abortion clinic where pro-lifers were holding a 40 Day Protest ‘For Life’ with screams of ‘my body, my choice. Bikers blockaded roads to allow the mass to pass, and at the climax rallied back at the Piata to decry the corruption of the Romanian government with hundreds of other protesters.