Theatre for Social Change in Morocco with the Connect Institute and the US Embassy
When Monique Quesada first told me about the Connect Institute, I was blown away. It’s an organization that provides free education and support for young people to develop their critical thinking skills through creativity. This is exactly the kind of place the world could use more of…and Taha Balafrej has made this dream a reality. He created the Connect Institute and his infectious enthusiasm and passion have inspired the ambitious community of young people that fill the building each day to achieve their potential.
I spent one week in Morocco working with people from age 6-56 in a series of
workshops that used theatre skills to explore a range of topics each community (Tiznit, Taroudant, Agadir) found to be important. These issues included the generation gap, drug addiction, homosexuality, gender parity, the environment, racism, beauty standards, homelessness, bullying, extremism, and more. Being a better communicator and using storytelling to provide perspective, creating empathy, and opening a door to conversation about controversial topics remained at the center of our work.
Each workshop started with community building exercises to get us working together. We then explored the roles of leading and following with a focus on how we are listening openly to each other. Physical expression and vocal work allowed us to develop more tools as we prepared to create a work of theatre. We broke down story structure and how sharing compelling stories can be more impactful than just telling people how you feel about something. We then used all of the content generated to devise short group performance pieces that were shared with each other.
Below are videos from the workshops in–