ACT! From the story to the Act – Theatre workshops in Beirut

The ACCover ACT!T! Project set out to explore the connections of the work between two non-governmental organisations, working in different settings, with many years of experience in their respective fields of work.

In our first calls to start what later became the ACT! project, we realised that while the methods and approaches to our respective work are different, our work is connected by shared values and topical links, as well as an overlap in beneficiaries. It is for this reason that we sought to combine the methodological advantages of both organisations’ work and explore these links. The ACT! project therefore set out to have a collective associative experience, explore and pilot the idea of combining the methods of anti-violence work and theatre work. The project aimed to design and deliver a training, which mixes theatre and anti-vio-lence techniques by Zoukak in Beirut, Lebanon

The project partners saw synergy in exploring whether the basic ideas and stances of anti-violence work could be performed and therefore moved to a higher emotional level if combined with theatrical components. It is by combining the concepts and ideas of conversation-based approaches with artistic expressions where we see future synergy. In the training designed in the frame of this project, the approach is considered as an invitation to participants to connect with their own history and their own relation to violence in an autobiographical effort.

Several key aspects can be noted for further exploration:

  • the importance of a hybrid approach built on different practices to create coherent interventions rooted in their context,
  • the importance of the experimentation as part of the development of a theoretical framework and methodological approach,
  • the advantages of using a variety of possibilities available to create successful and diverse approaches in facing violence and radicalization,
  • the potential of practicing art to facilitate synergies and create new forms of interventions,
  • work with the potentials of self-awareness beyond verbal communicationand include the physical experience,
  • non-judgemental professional stances and thinking can be translated and transferred from anti-violence work to theatre and vice versa,
  • theatre can provide guidance in developing bottom-up and life-oriented approaches for radicalization prevention/intervention, namely by facilitating more accessibility for beneficiaries and offering opportunities of meaningful violence and radicalisation prevention without labelling programmes in the context of “preventing and countering extremism”,
  • a method mix to enable agency of beneficiaries can be promising to offer more variety and opportunities to interact,
  • further exploration of the framework needed for creating open, non-judgmental and engaging spaces for working on the topic of violence; further exploration of the professional roles and methods to develop such spaces of trust in the context of anti-violence work and theatre work in order to support the agency of practitioners in both fields,
  • creative settings in violence prevention can raise curiosity for different beneficiaries and open doors to trust building and further intervention in violence prevention,
  • violence and radicalisation, including the topics explored in the scope of the project offer engaging topics and methodological inspiration for the transfer to theatre work,
  • the value of and need for more creative space and experimentation in order to develop awareness and sensitivity towards dynamics of power/domination and discrimination in connection with once own context and biography,
  • the need for more creative space and experimentations for a theory and methodology of intersectional violence prevention, visibility and support for bottom-up spaces to critically reflect on own experiences of violence and discrimination.

Please find here the Manual „ACT! From the story to the Act“