Just before Christmas Mark Moffat and I went to Spain to work with a theatre company called Taller Spiral. They specialise in working with communities and use drama to develop those communities. Over this weekend I saw first hand how much of an effect that Drama can have in a community and bringing the people in that community together.
We worked in a place called Rhiello with an small community theatre group called Los Transumantes. The piece we were working on was about a town that was next to theirs which was being converted into a natural park. One of the youngest members of the group Ruben (23) co-wrote the a play with the company's founder Chris about this situation. The play incorporated all the different views of the town and the diversity of the community that they lived in.
The language barrier was very apparent as only 1 or 2 of the people could speak English-ish, in a group of about 10, (let alone me and Mark not being able to speak Spanish). However this language barrier made me truly realise that verbal language isn't everything. Even though we did not speak the language Mark and I managed to understand everything that was going on in their rehearsal process through tone of voice, body language and facial expression.
In Rhiello, the weather consists of snow and more snow. Therefore getting to the village hall for rehearsals is incredibly difficult. However due to the play being about real life and their community encouraged people to make the effort. This action as well as trying to work well together to create a good piece really showed me how Drama could truly effect a community and bring people together.
Another aspect which opened my eyes was how much the group welcomed us into their community. They did not treat us differently or make us feel uneasy, they opened up their village with open arms and made us feel truly welcome. I wish there were more communities out there like this. I have put the link to Spiral's website just below - check it out they are an amazing company!