Abroad // Training Course “Theater for Youth” in Guggisberg, Switzerland

Switzerland suprised and made us joyful…

The Training Course “Theater for Youth” was located in Guggisberg, a small village in the region Gantrisch in Switzerland. Apart from fresh air and a picturesque view of the mountains, escaping the routines of our home countries for a week was among the things we enjoyed most about our stay. But most importantly, the topic and excercises made us think about different sociopolitical issues and motivated us to find possible solutions for societal challenges in the future. We also figured that everyone can have a positive impact on their surroundings.

Let us start by saying that we had an awesome week and thoroughly enjoyed it! It is we, the participants, who made the project so special. Since we were a fairly small group, we were able to get to know one another easily. In total, the course consisted of 16 participants from the following countries: Switzerland, Israel, Palestine, Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo and Germany.

As the title of the Training Course suggests, theatre was one major component of the week, though it wasn’t a usual theater as you may think, but rather a methodology of Forum Theater which is part of Augusto Boals Theater of the Oppressed. Using this methodology, we were able to be more aware of the problems facing some countries by examining sociopolitical problems and elaborating them.

On the first day of the project, we conducted team building activities and focused on building trust. Although it was challenging from time to time, it really worked. The second day, we felt more comfortable with each other and had a great time together, laughing and having fun.

Through Training Courses, we can break out of our comfort zones and start thinking outside the box. Meeting new people and developing new relationships always inspires us. Although youre usually only on the projects for one week, we think that we were able to get to know each other very deeply through our conversations. The opportunity to participate in programms like this is very valuable.

Having the opportunity to perform on stage and explore our characters was a wonderful experience. With the help of different scenes, situations of our life worlds were presented in which some people appeared as “oppressors” and “oppressed”. The participants in the audience were then asked to solve the oppression situation in a realistic way. This could take the form of concrete changes in the behaviour of individual roles or the introduction of new characters into the scene. In some situations the “solution” seemed very obvious and a consensus could be found quickly, other times the scenic representation led to hours of constructive discussions on the topic. In this way, we were able to learn a lot of new things and adopt different perspectives.

The course also gave us a better understanding of how to implement a successful theatre project. In order to realise our ambition to organise upcoming projects for youth and young adults, we will definitely use some of these methods. In addition, it is essential to become more aware of the problems of people in other countries.

Switzerland surprised us in a positive way. Every day, a nearby restaurant prepared delicious food for us. There is no doubt that this quiet, clean country full of breathtaking natural beauty has something to offer everyone. We met many wonderful and cool people during this project who left a lasting impression on us.

In conclusion, we can only encourage everyone to maximise their own potential and be an active member of our society.

The Theatre for Youth training was funded by the Erasmus+ programme.