We want to conduct a research and development project with Colectivo Sustento, a community theatre and social justice collective based in Santiago, Chile.
About the project
Hello, in case you don’t know already know us, we are Mary O’Neill and Nikki Mailer, theatre and art practitioners based in Manchester, England.
In January 2014, we were lucky enough to travel to Chile to take part in Entepola, an international community theatre festival. There we met Penny Glass, who is one of the founders of Colectivo Sustento (Sustenance Collective).
Colectivo Sustento is a community theatre collective with a difference. It has a multi-faceted approach to community theatre work; in their own words they are, 'a long-term fusion of community theatre experiences within and outside of prisons'.
The creative projects they produce focus on theatre, sustainability and creating discussion about social awareness and change.
Penny does some amazing work helping people in prisons and juvenile centres in the city. She runs two theatre groups and a community garden project:
· Fenix and Ilusiones operates inside Colina 1 mens’ prison in Santiago, where they create performances, youth projects and tour their work.
· Sustento Theatre Arts takes place outside of the prison. Members of this group include, practitioners, artists, volunteers, students and ex members of Fenix and Ilusiones. They meet weekly to play drama games, create improvisations and performances.
· Huerto Sustento is a community garden project that is used to offer ongoing training and to promote sustainable living.
What we learnt
We spent three weeks working with Penny. We performed at Entepola, attended and lead theatre workshops and met members of Colectivo Sustento.
· We learnt how important theatre is as an outlet for creative and personal expression as well as creating a sense of community for the people she works with.
· We met some fantastic people and witnessed first hand the benefits that the project has brought so far to those people who have come into contact with it.
· We saw how the collective demonstrated the ability to work with little financial support and also that it is a project that differs to the types of community theatre work we have experienced in the UK.
We were hugely inspired by our experience and believe much can be learned from them.
We returned home with two aims:
· To raise awareness of the fantastic work of Colectivo Sustento.
· To share our experience with other drama and arts practitioners in the UK and Chile.
Earlier this year we applied to the Arts Council England for funding for a research project so we could share our learning. With arts funding notoriously hard to get hold of we didn’t hold out much hope, but in June this year we found out that our funding application was successful!
What we’re going to do
We fly out to Chile on 12 August 2015 for three weeks to work on our project. We’ll be making a film to document the work of Penny and Colectivo Sustento and we will be writing a blog to capture our experience.
The film will be used as research and development resource and will be shared with community theatre practitioners in both the UK and Chile. It will also enable us to give the collective further exposure and support.
We now need to raise £500, which will go towards creating the film with local filmmakers who are members of the collective.
All donations will be graciously received – every penny really does help! As a thank you, we’ll be able to give you a mention on our blog or in the film credits.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. We’re extremely passionate about work of Colectivo Sustento and we believe this project will be invaluable to everyone who uses our resources.
Drama and Arts Facilitator
Applied Theatre Practitioner