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  • Culture, Art and Creativity

Freedom “online”

Arising from the need for expression and contact, “Oficina de Teatro Experimental” has come to empower our volunteers… at a distance!

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes and 40 seconds

With the arrival of the fourth, and last, quarter of this year, we decided to look back and remember a time when “staying at home” no longer counted as a leisure activity but as a recurrent necessity. Within the usual routine, necessarily adapted, there were several moments when we were in contact with our volunteers. However, don’t you worry, these opportunities did not involve breaking any rules. Not at all! Even though Agora Aveiro is known for questioning paradigms and changing mentalities, change can also happen from the comfort of our homes. And that’s exactly what happened!

“Oficina de Teatro Experimental” (Experimental Theatre Workshop), long hidden in the little box of ideas and anxiously awaiting its moment to shine, revealed itself when we least expected. The aim was to create a safe space where volunteers and, in the future, participants could work on their skills of expression, both verbal and corporal, and debate ideas. To bring this idea to life, we had to gather the necessary soft skills and so, for a few months, we were joined by several trainers who did nothing less than inspire our young people. 

During the time of the pandemic, we had the virtual presence of not one, not two, but six very special people. Everything started with Maria Matina, who brought us theatre, improvisation and artistic expression. Through simple exercises and energizers, she was able to stimulate our volunteers who, until that moment, had been a bit “sedentary”. 

A Hungarian national, Fanny Hajdú, from Drámapedagógus, opened our appetite for the world of theatre pedagogy and theatre of the oppressed. With various exercises and practical examples, we realised how important the free expression of body and voice can be for everyone, from kids to adults. 

Straight from Spain, we had Gemma Aragonés from AlterNetwork. A clown by profession, she helped us work on our facial expressions, improvisation and also our comic sense. Although laughter and smiles were not lacking, we realized that being a clown is not as easy as it seems.

Also from Spain, but living and teaching in the United Kingdom, Gabriel Martinez not only brought innovative exercises but also combined all his professional teaching experience to advise and inspire us on future projects.

Anne Verhulst from the Netherlands brought us a little more energy and movement with her dance and body expression workshop. Our rooms became playgrounds and those seemingly small spaces managed to become giants. 

To close this incredible round of workshops, the storyteller from Shokkin’Group in the Netherlands, Gaia Theil, demonstrated the importance of good storytelling and was able to show us that by combining words with sensations, we can achieve the strongest emotions.

All these friends, trainers and educators brought new perspectives and ideas, indispensable tools and lots and lots of energy. The distance was not the limiting reagent and with all this, we were inspired to do more and better. Curious to know what we bring next year? Stay tuned!

Oficina de Teatro Experimental” has the support of Aveiro’s City Hall and Instituto Português do Desporto e Juventude I.P..

Nuno Afonso