MEMORY INSCRIBED IN MY BEING. WEAVING FROM THE PERSONAL TO THE COLLECTIVE
Accessing the collective story from the personal poetic. Unraveling the social fabric. A circle where we can creatively search for the implications of trans-generational wounds in our own bodies and current narratives, so we can accompany others.
MEMORY INSCRIBED IN MY BEING. WEAVING FROM THE PERSONAL TO THE COLLECTIVE is a space where we can explore our story, full of experiences, knowledge, fulfilled and unfulfilled desires, oppressions and gifts to the world. In this circle we are accessing the collective story from embodied experience and the personal poetic. We will unravel the social fabric looking at what has being passed on to us from previous generations. In this circle we will creatively search/ look for the implications of trans-generational wounds in our own bodies and current narratives, so we can accompany others.
In this space participants use ritual, movement, theatre, poetry, symbolic language, writing, aesthetics and paper puppets to create autobiographical pieces with a partner. Participants will practice deep listening and personal reflection, co-creating a safe space where we can explore and share our personal stories in circle, accompanied with love and care.
The space we will co-create aims at looking with depth the wounds from our past, and to navigate through them together with artistic means. In this way we will focus on creating a more conscious present where our individual visions are inscribed in a collective intention.
This workshop invites people to join in: activists, pedagogues, social workers, psychologists, artists, people interested in bearing witness to the narratives of others, people interested in personal growth, and all of whom want to deepen creatively into their own narratives, practice deep listening, and find new tools to accompany others.
Through a series of exercises and theatrical processes inspired by Theatre of Witness, Theatre of the Oppressed, Expressive Movement and art-therapy, we will become intimate with our own story and the story of others.
With meditation, imagery and visualizations we will exercise our capacity to listen and we will co-create a safe space where we can share ourselves.
With free movement and ecstatic dance we will get in touch with the Body of our stories.
With creative writing we will dive in the work of writing our story and gather the stories of others.
With the symbolic language of paper puppets we will tap into aesthetic means to translate our personal poetic with visual language.
We will use Council Circle as a base from which we will take off and land every time we need to share or listen to what is more complex.
Rainbow of Desire and Cops in the Head (Theater of the Opressed, Augusto Boal) will serve us to deepen and look into the social voices and introjects which don’t allow us to break the dual paradigm that separates us from the Other.
This worksop is aimed at exploring our collective story through the personal implication, understanding this as a political act. Participants will explore how to vessel stillness, compassion, presence and creativity with themselves and with the other. We will expand our capacity to listen deeply to the truth of others transcending our differences, and opening our hearts to bear witness to their stories. We will find creative tools which can be used in social work and activism. We will lower the barriers which oppress, divide and place us in a dual paradigm.
About Alessia Cartoni (Madrid, Spain)
Actress, Theatre of Witness Director, Participatory Arts-Drama Facilitator
Alessia is an artist, a Theatre of the Oppressed and Theatre of Witness practitioner, she was the ImaginAction’s Apprenticeship Program Coordinator from 2011 to 2014 and ImaginAction’s representative in Europe coordinating ImaginAction’s web, social media and communication. As a facilitator, Alessia explores stories of trauma and resilience using Theatre of Witness, Autobiographical Storytelling, Rainbow of Desire, Ritual, music and movement. She has worked both nationally and internationally facilitating community based projects using Theatre of the Oppressed, movement, dance, arts and storytelling.
Alessia Cartoni holds a BA in Cultural & Social Anthropology and Art History from UAM University in Madrid. At Corazza’s Studio Alessia teaches Art History to drama students. Most recently Alessia has combined her training as an actor and anthropologist in her involvement with projects of international cooperation in which she has used Theater of the Oppressed methodologies. Alessia leads a series of workshops called Unveiling Myself, in which participants explore issues on gender and personal challenges through autobiographical storytelling, theatre, ritual and Beauty.
She has been training with Teya Sepinuck, artistic Director of Theatre of Witness since 2012. Alessia has worked as assisting director and as a puppeteer in her last production in Northern Ireland, Sanctuary. This Theatre of Witness production illuminated the stories of those in exile, those seeking safe haven, and those who have created oases of peace and healing in Northern Ireland. The performers included refugee and asylum seekers and providers, as well as those who seek or offer refuge following violence, mental health issues, forced exile, poverty and/or sectarianism.
In May 2014 Alessia premiered her first production as a director. Our Lives Without You, Stories beyond the legacy of the Ballymurphy Massacre. In this production six family members of those killed in the Ballymurphy massacre share their poetic stories about mourning, loss and healing. You can watch the complete play here: https://vimeo.com/100097301
On Theatre of Witness:
Theatre of Witness is a form of performance developed by founder and artistic director Teya Sepinuck in which the true life stories of those whose voices haven’t been heard in society are performed by the storytellers themselves as a way for audiences to bear witness to significant social issues. The theater productions are scripted from individual and group interviews as well as a variety of creative process techniques and consist of scripted text, music, movement, imagery and film projection. The productions are created with the performers who themselves have directly experienced the issues being explored. Theater of Witness invites audiences to put a face and heart to societal issues of suffering and to celebrate the power of the human spirit to grow and transform. Theater of Witness is a form of peace building and inspiration.
Teya Sepinuck has been creating Theater of Witness productions in the United States, Poland and Northern Ireland since 1986. Performers have included: refugees and immigrants, survivors and perpetrators of violence, prisoners and their families, ex-combatants, members of the security forces and victims of war and conflict, former perpetrators and those healing from abuse, elders, runaway girls, and those living without homes. This work often brings former enemies together onstage who explore conflict from a multiplicity of perspectives, always with the purpose of shining a light on the possibility of deep connection and reconciliation.
In January 2013, Alessia Cartoni in collaboration with Hector Aristizabal (ImaginAction), created and directed a Theatre of Witness piece in the city of Los Angeles, California. This project was partially funded by the Department of Cultural Affairs of the same city. In this piece, six torture survivors coming from 5 different countries and currently living in the US tell their stories regarding their experiences of torture, exile, asylum seeking and finally how they became survivors. Playwright Diane Lefer developed the dramaturgy, original live music created by Enzo Fina. Photo by Brian Biery.
In July 2013 ImaginAction’s artist Alessia Cartoni started working as a mentee with Teya Sepinuck (founder and director of Theatre of Witness) in the development of what was her last production in collaboration with the Playhouse in Derry, Northern Ireland.
Sanctuary illuminated the stories of those in exile, those seeking safe haven, and those who have created oases of peace and healing in Northern Ireland. The performers included refugee and asylum seekers and providers, as well as those who seek or offer refuge following violence, mental health issues, forced exile, poverty and/or sectarianism. ‘Sanctuary’ also highlighted moments of ordinary and humble peace building. Sanctuary was created and directed by Teya Sepinuck, with music by Brian Irvine and puppetry by Aja Marweneck it toured in Northern Ireland in October and November 2013. A documentary film of the production will be available in 2014.
In this project Alessia assisted Teya’s work as a mentee and worked with Aja Marweneck in the development of the puppetry and as a puppetist in the show. Alessia is deeply inspired by the transformative power of this method and willing to become a practitioner creating her own work.
In spring 2014, Teya Sepinuck alongside The Playhouse Theatre of Witness Programme developed a mentorship program with two of their advanced students.
Alessia Cartoni created then “Our Lives Without You”, a Theatre of Witness production with six family members of those killed in the Ballymurphy massacre in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The production toured the theatre in Northern Ireland and every performance was welcomed with standing ovations.
About“Our LivesWithout You”, by Alessia Cartoni, 2014:
In the aftermath of injustice and violence, lives are changed forever. The Ballymurphy Massacre families have been seeking justice for more than 40 years for their loved ones shot down by British soldiers in 1971. The families demand a full and independent international investigation as no one has ever been held legally accountable for the killings. The families also demand a public apology from the British government along with a statement acknowledging that the dead were innocent civilians. But while the families have drawn public attention to the killings and have used political and legal language in their quest for justice, their own personal stories as individuals coping with the aftermath of loss – the loss of family, identity, the sense of secure belonging in a community – have never been heard.
The participants of this Project are the daughters, the sons, the brothers and sisters of the people that between the 9 and 11 of August 1971 were suddenly murdered, will always be missed, and are kept alive in memory and hope. The stories we seek to capture reveal courage, faith, love and truth, and the capacity of human beings to live in between the realm of reality and the realm of memories. Those memories of family life with the loved ones who are lost are preserved in stories, saved and offered like precious jewels.
From the legacy of the Massacre, this piece asks: Who do we become after the tragic loss of a father, mother, brother? How do we raise our own children after that, staying fully present in their lives even when a part of ourselves died that day?
You can watch the complete play through this link: https://vimeo.com/100097301