I came across preparations for ‘Brazil For All’ quite by accident. Residents in protected housing flats were making costumed models in their common room to show in the Brazilian Parade. I was impressed by the project, the shared working and the enjoyment of the participants.
I later made contact with Julia Evangelista at a birthday party for my cousin in the same common room and garden, where the parade models had been created. We discussed the Parade, the SeeThroughTheatre, the ideas behind it and its activities.
Overlap Between SeeThroughTheatre and <meaning4all.com>
There is considerable overlap between these two projects. Both attach values to people’s activities. Both put emphasis on people sharing their views and activities. Both believe in communal activities. Both believe in the use of art to enhance people’s lives. Both use images and text to report and update their projects. Both have a clear idea of where they are going.
Carry Forward of SeeThroughTheare to <meaning4all.com>
No doubt both projects can learn from each other. Here, we are concerned with what m4a might carry forward from SST. The following suggest themselves:
- The use of images. SST uses many more than m4a and to greater effect.
- SST is actively involved by means of community events, involving any and all types of people. m4a involves people too, but only by means of a blogsite, where contributors can post articles. This limits the people taking part.
- SST has a wider view of art and its application. m4a might conside extending its current view and so, the application and use of art.
The above sections are written by John from the point of view of m4a. Julia is invited to do similarly from the point of view of SST.
SeeTrough Theatre Company
The link between cultural participation, health and happiness is becoming increasingly evidenced. Being able to express our cultural identities, both as individuals and together as collectives of diverse communities, are essential parts of being human.
Today, despite technology making us more connected than ever before, we are living in what has been termed “a loneliness epidemic.” This is even more true in marginalised and under supported communities. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
SeeThrough Theatre Company’s work has shown that, given the right platforms and opportunities to produce culture and express themselves, people are only too keen to engage and connect with each other. And when they do, as the participants themselves will testify, there is no greater contributor to improvements in physical and mental well-being, even in some of the most challenging environments.
Through a mix of practical experience and academic research, we have developed four founding principles that underpin SeeThrough’s vision for democratising the arts to increase cultural participation and enrich people’s lives and the societies in which we live. These four principles are:
Valuing diversity & inclusion. We all have unique stories to tell.
In coming together to tell our stories we learn things about ourselves as well as others. A practical value in diversity emerges that helps to disrupt the stigmatising discourses that can marginalise certain parts of the community and stop them from becoming active producers of culture.
Sharing ownership and producing culture on our own terms.
A significant part of each of our projects is determined by the participants themselves. It is important that they take ownership of their work and are recognised – both within themselves and among friends, family and the wider public – as valid producers of culture on their own terms.
Believing we are all capable of producing culture and being critical thinkers.
We are constantly in awe of the words of wisdom and displays of skills that emerge from people during our projects. These are often from people who in different contexts are too easily forgotten or ignored without the confidence or platforms for them to speak out. Not hearing their voices means society is missing out.
Offering a variety of ways to engage with our projects.
There is no one-size fits all to cultural participation. Some people like to take a leading role while others prefer to help from the sidelines. They are equally valid forms of participation and often we find people will start from the sidelines and work there way into the project as their confidence increases, and sometimes vice versa too.
“It makes you feel good because you are with one another. It is like a community, you know. As you get older, people seem to forget you are there. I don’t want this to happen with me. I want to be there, to be somewhere!”
— Margaret, 75 year old project participant
SeeThrough Theatre Company
20 Marsden Street
London, NW5 3HD
Registered company no: 7471074
In our community projects the arts become the medium to bring people together who are all too often isolated in modern society. Different generations, cultures, religions and abilities connect by doing things together in a creative, informal and joyful setting, strengthening existing ties and forging new connections that turn a collection of individuals in
Education.Using a mix of formal and informal settings, we use the arts to incite debate and critical thinking within a safe environment that supports teamwork and mutual understanding while also enabling students to grow emotionally and socially as individuals. We work in both primary and secondary schools across a range of art forms including storytelling, puppet making and drama.