Exciting Beginnings…

Michael here…

This morning marked our final day of work here. But we also took part in the beginning of a promising new group of educators who are interested in gaining drama and theatre skills in their schools. The Imani Cultural Club was pulled together by our hosts, Jean and Leon, and has been several years in the making.

The four schoolteachers at the meeting had stimulating insights of their own, but also echoed much of what we have heard and experienced already: that their students were hungry for drama. All of them told us that they had no formal drama training or experience, but they spoke about how they had pulled together drama classes or clubs at their schools anyhow. Earlier in the trip, our group visited two of these schools and saw that the teachers were already running impressive and valuable drama programs for their students.

We were also joined by six of the students we have been working with at the Kigali Institute of Education. The KIE students were able to share with the teachers what they found valuable about the work we have led with them and add insight to the discussions about applying theatre in Rwanda, both in and outside school settings.

We attempted to give the group a taste of what the work can be used for. We shared a piece of Forum Theatre, which involves audience participation and intervention in order to facilitate conversations on difficult social issues. We modeled how an existing story can be used to quickly build a play with a group of people who do not necessarily have theatre experience. I hope that today’s session has sparked some thought among the teachers on the versatility of drama in education, and given them the curiosity to continue to learn and experiment with it.

It was perhaps the most gratifying experiences of the trip to see the KIE students, who have now worked with our program twice, explain to their fellow Rwandans the value the work could have for the country. It showed us all that the workshops we have been leading are not just impacting the students we work with directly, but could grow into something big. It gave me faith that after we leave the skills and knowledge the KIE students have gained will be put to use.

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About hkwmaat

Faculty member for the MA in Applied Theatre at the City University of New York School of Professional Studies. Also the Director of the CAT Youth Theatre at the Creative Arts Team.
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