Peace and Freedom through the Art of Theatre

The Freedom Theatre is an organization that advocates freedom and peace through theatre arts. The organization was initially run by Arna Mer  Khamis—a Jewish woman who has been working with the Palestinians regarding the trauma of violence caused by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The organization does a lot of projects with Palestinian kids who are traumatized by the conflict. It located in the Northern part of West Bank. The Freedom Theatre’s projects include the young generation to learn the art of acting, and through it they express their hardship and their everyday experience being Palestinian adolescences. The organization contains of drama workshops, acting school, applied theatre, productions, and performances. The expression of their trauma and feelings through this art form has done positive things to these kids.

 

http://www.thefreedomtheatre.org/what-we-do/theatre/

 

 

Theatre art of peace and freedom could be used to heal or educate kids from around the world that are struggling with hardships of any kind. Home problems, violent neighborhoods, segregation, bullying, war are some types of settings where the program could work. Kids age 8 through 20 may be the more ideal learners of this form of peace-building.

 

 

By using emotional intelligences and multiple intelligences, a facilitator could run this program and apply to struggling communities. It requires absolute open-mindedness and support to implement this. Kids who express their feeling want to be heard. They want to be healed. Expression needs to be followed up by support and caring in order for healing to work.

 

Teachers in violent inner city neighborhoods and international peace-builders are the most ideal educators to utilize this form of healing.

 

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Expression of Peace through Art

The workshop we all were gratefully a part of last weekend taught me a lot about how to approach peace building. A couple of pillars/ideas that have been stuck in my head are community building and exploration of approaches. Creative peace building has been popularized through art therapy. Art is an expression of feelings and emotions. What art therapy does is give people or a community a way to express their feelings, especially after or during a time of crisis and conflict.

 

Barefoot Artists is an organization that promotes peace through art. www.barefootartists.org

 

The organization gives struggling communities access and resources to create art, and every community would have its own distinctive expression. This empowers the people through their own indigenous art and culture. The form of art is usually visual art (drawings, paintings, building, etc.). It allows people to find peace within themselves by expressing their emotions through a visual form. By doing it, people in the community are forced to work together and form a stronger relationship with each other. The organization has transformed a conflicted and struggling community to a stronger, more expressive, and more peaceful one.

One of the things that they have done is transform a mass grave of slain people in Rwanda into an artistic memorial, which the people in the community have highly appreciated. Lily Yeh organized and trained the village people before together they built and crafted this memorial. http://barefootartists.org/projects/the-rwanda-healing-project/genocide-memorial-park/

 

Educational Setting

 

I think this resource can be used in various places. Though this organization mostly focuses on international extreme conflict communities, it can be incorporated in a basic classroom or a community in a developed country that may have been hit by a tragedy. A lot of times, kids cannot express their sad feelings through words, and art is a great device to do so. A community such as Newtown, which has been struck by a tremendous tragedy, could be an ideal place to implement this resource.

I would recommend art therapy to elementary school, middle school, high school, and a larger community.

 

Implementation

 

For an educator to implement this resource, he or she must acquire art resources (knowledge, people, and tools). Some art experience or skills are required for this to work. As an educational leader promoting art as an expression, he or she needs to be able express his or her own feelings visually. A leadership skill is highly essential to the success of this method. Moving a large group of people that have been struggling from a conflict or a tragedy is not an easy task. This requires a great communication skill. One needs to be able to speak through people’s hearts and somewhat understand their pain.

Multiple intelligence is the applicative pedagogy in this resource, because it requires one to be a proficient and talented educator to be able to execute this.

 

For people who have been struggling as a community or a group from a never-ending conflict, traumatizing tragedy, and fear of the future, this is a resource that could open your eyes. One simple thing can really make a difference. We never want our communities to be haunted by horrific history; we do not want our kids to grow up only remembering a tragedy and be afraid every day. Art allows us to stand up and express that we want peace in our lives.

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