Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Forum Work - 'The First Time - Natalie and Anton

In this blog, students Natalie and Anton describe their experience of using their forum piece in the community -

We have been accepted by the community, especially the younger children we worked with. The culture here is so different to back home, it was amazing to experience it.

Africa has opened our eyes in many ways. Every child we worked with may have been deprived in terms of money, supplies, equipment for school, but the make up for it with their spirit and personalities, their musical abilities definitely push them to be the best they can be.

Our forum play was called 'The First Time'. The group was made up of, Tom, Anton, Natalie, Chanika, and Holly. I think its fair to say, we were all a little worried about performing our piece to the students in the community centre, because its subject -  HIV, safe sex, and peer pressure, is, yes, universal, however, HIV is much more a subject the African students can relate to than us, I guess we just felt under educated on the subject matter. Having said this, on arrival once again we were greeted with open arms, and the piece was received positively.

Introducing forum theatre to the African community was worth every moment, performing it here showed us why and how forum theatre truly works.

Our sex related subject sparked deep understanding and provoked a conversation. We learned how sexual health is challenged in the South African community, the male population are afraid to go clinic and get tested. 'We get tested through the girls, if the girls negative we are'. Whilst people have fear in England, there's the option to go with friends, the boys here didn't even want to do this, because of the stigma that comes with being HIV positive.

As a big group we created a new piece of forum theatre. The South African students decided to do a piece on HIV also. It was a strong piece as what they showed us was true, it was things they were experiencing. Their get up and go attitude, was displayed from the start, they were so keen to be involved especially with the interventions with our forum piece

All of our group were so happy that we got this group, the guy who played the protagonist was amazing, he was extremely talented and he shone on stage, he allowed the audience to connect with him.

The transitions of the group were amazing, in fact they were smoother than what we had done, and we had about 3 months whereas they had about an hour. The commitment and understanding shown by this group made us proud and thankful.

The most rewarding thing for us as a group throught forum was; Seeing the interventions. One girl was quiet throughout our working with her but she got up, taking the protagonist role and fought her corner of not having sex with the antagonist. It showed us that forum can allow people to be empowered.

Another moment was the conversation we had with the students. We never went expecting them to open up about their lives and feelings towards HIV, but they did. We could not of asked for a better ending with this group.

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