- Jana Sanskriti in Italy – by Fabio Fussi, Italy
- Jana Sanskriti’s Where We Stand in Europe: a stimulus to debate – by TdU Wien, Ralph Yarrow and Sanjoy Ganguly
- Forum Theatre Scenarios – by Mecca Antonia Burns, Africa
- Q&A with Jenn Freitag, Editor of Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Journal – by Kelly Howe, USA
- The 17th edition of the World Social Forum – by Alessio Surian, Italy
Happy New Year and welcome to the first 2018 issue of the JSIRRI newsletter.
In this issue we put Jana Sanskriti‘s visit in Europe into focus. They visited Italy, France and Austria in the course of October and early November 2017. For all of them and for all of us who had the chance to host them it was a very important time that gave us the opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones. Fabio Fussi, one of the main organizers of the visit gives an overview about the activities of Jana Sanskriti in Italy.
In Vienna, Jana Sanskriti has shown Where We Stand in a hot political context, an upcoming national election. The theatre group „Das ReflActiv“ who works within the host organisation of Jana Sanskriti in Austria, „TdU Wien“ watched the play and afterwards made a collective and instrumentalist critique of the amazing performance (because they wanted to adapt the play to their own context). Sharing these reflections with Sanjoy Ganguly from Jana Sanskriti and Ralph Yarrow (co-editor of this newsletter), a dialogue was started which you can read in this issue. Thanks to Ralph for compiling the separate texts into one readable format that stresses some of the important convictions of Jana Sanskriti‘s work but also gives a perspective on it from a European angle. It includes new questions generated by the play in European audiences and conflicts that the group was reminded of, theatrical critique and strong images from the play. Sanjoy Ganguly takes the reflections as inspiration for both content-wise discussion (Do we need to differentiate the bougeois class according to color?) but also stressing the importance that forum plays need to be produced by the oppressed themselves and thus are context-specific. He says that forum theatre performances in other contexts can be mere demonstrations and not a real forum. That also relates to the fact that oppressed groups already know their issues but through forum plays they can understand them and become SpectActivists. Read the full text here
Tell us if you like the style of the text because we might continue the dialogue in upcoming issues.
Another important thing that happened in Austria was an official meeting of Jana Sanskriti International Resource and Research Institute (JSIRRI) whose newsletter you are currently reading.
In this inspiring meeting, within others, the following points were discussed:
– The goal of JSIRRI is to be an international voice or network; in so doing it can also facilitate existing networks, it strives towards decentralization.
– People who are interested in JSIRRI and in collaborating are welcome to put the JSIRRI logo on their websites and publications, expressing their affiliation with JSIRRI.
– The Newsletter serves as the chief organ of communication and discussion of the possibility of events and collaborations.
JSIRRI is already facilitating networks of theatre activists globally (as the recent visit of Jana Sanskriti has shown). You and your organisation are welcome to become part of the growing network and be the network. Italian and Austrian organisations have already joined.
Furthermore, Mecca Burns (from the editing team), was so kind and started something we want to propose to you as the international Theatre of the Oppressed community. She sent us some detailed forum theatre scenarios she worked with in Kenya, Uganda and the US. We think it would be wonderful to be able to collect forum theatre scenarios from all over the world as a collective wisdom produced by us as an international TO community. Our suggestion is to classify all forthcoming contributions in the following way: title, date, locale, brief description of the group and the issues.
The contribution could include a short description of the scenes in your play, but if there are written scenes to the plays that might be even better. If you want to guarantee a broader understanding of your forum scenarios beyond languages maybe it is even a good idea to send strong images of the progression of the forum model. There are multiple ways of sharing your work!
Naturally we need to emphasize that every situation is unique and the play must come from the heart of the group and the culture. But a catalogue of scenes will bring color and zest and vividness. And specificity. Let us all celebrate our global movement diversity.
Mecca also contributed an image of Kenyan women experiencing the Colombian hypnosis in their first ever participatory theatre workshop. Read more here.
Kelly Howe is introducing the US-American PTO journal to the readers of this newsletter through an interview with its editors. It is a peer reviewed journal that offers exchange on issues of Pedagogy of the oppressed and Theatre of the oppressed. Contributions don‘t have to be scholarly but can also include photos, poems, personal narratives etc. Curious? Read more here.
Last but not least, Alessio Surian, who is another new member to the editing team has contributed a short piece on the upcoming World Social Forum in Salvador de Bahia (Brazil) from 13-17 March 2018 (http://fsm2018.org/en/). He cites some of Augusto Boal’s addresses to that global social movement forum. By commemorating the murder of a young black LGBT activist in the organisation committee, Alessio reminds us all that activism for global change can be a dangerous thing. Read here.
We are welcoming all of your contributions to upcoming versions this newsletter (next deadline: 28th February 2018) or the growing JSIRRI global network. With this newsletter all of us at JSIRRI and at Jana Sanskriti wish you a very happy new year 2018 and a good read!
Your editorial team
Ralph Yarrow, Mecca Burns, Pratyusha Ghosh, Alessio Surian, Kelly Howe and Joschka Kock