Separate worlds brought together through arts

madrasa 545septFrom the arcade surrounding the Madrasa Theatre, up to the hills covered by olive trees, echo the notes of songs in Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, Greek and Portuguese… These are songs of praying, lamentation, celebration sung by actors from Turkey, Cyprus and Italy, brought together by the “WALLS-Separate Worlds” project.

“WALLS-Separate Worlds” is a project led by Astragali Teatro in Lecce, with the support of the Culture Programme 2007-2013 of the European Union and with partners including University of Salento, Babelmed, Teatro Pubblico Pugliese, International Theatre Institute Italy Center (Italy), International Theatre Institute Cyprus Center (Cyprus), International Theatre Institute Directorate General, Un Vrai Beau Gars (France), Theatro Tsi Zakynthos (Greece), Performance Research Association (Turkey).

The project, started with the artistic residency in Şirince, Turkey, will continue with other activities in Italy, Greece, Germany, France and Cyprus; all countries dealing with the issue of “wall”, both visible and invisible.  

The first phase of the project took part at the Madrasa Theatre, in Şirince, Turkey with the subtitle “Drama at the crossroads-new identity walls”. The artistic residency at the Madrasa Theatre, between 23-30 september hosted 21 actors from Turkey, Italy and Cyprus. Under the guidance of Astragali Teatro in general, and Fabio Tolledi in particular the participants attended almost 10 hours of training everyday, including physical training, voice and breath studies, singing and acting. The workshop was focused on the “Metamorphosis” by Ovid as the text of reference, and on the penultimate day of the workshop, the participants presented a final work demonstration on “Metamorphosis” interpreted in a new light, adorned with songs in 5 different languages.

“Precise” was probably the keyword of all the workshop, with Fabio Tolledi asking the participants to be precise with their intentions, with their actions. One sentence that Fabio Tolledi, the artistic director of Astragali Teatro and president of Italy Center of International Theatre Institute, said during one of the training sessions could sum up the aim of the project: “The words change the experience, reppresent something in another way, as in Metamorphosis.”

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Knowing the other

The workshop in Şirince closed with a final meeting about “multiculturalism and the political nature of the theatre” with the participation of Astragali Teatro, Tiyatro Medresesi and Cyprus Center of International Theatre Institute.

In the meeting, Roberta Quarta, actress and International Projects Coordinator of Astragali Teatro talked about the “mission” of a theatre. Explaining that working in a theatre is not like being an ordinary “employee” she said “You have to fight for your ideas, fight to survive”.

Ellada Evangelou of the Cyprus Centre of International Theatre Institute also talked about importance of the experience in Şirince. Evangelou said that just the fact that she came to Turkey would be regarded as a “scandal” in her home town and continued “So it’s not something unimportant that we are here talking in each other’s language. Just this act by itself is political”.

And Fabio Tolledi mentioned the multicultural nature of the Mediterranean region. Tolledi, said “Knowing the other is the first step to overcome the conflict. The most difficult conflict is the one inside ourselves, the one that we are not aware of”. Speaking about the workshop in Sirince he underlined the importance of the little steps taken saying, “We did small but important things. Singing love songs in Greek by Turkish people is little but important. It changes perception”.



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