The COAST project links four European organisations each of which uses Community Theatre within its own national context as a means of addressing social and artistic inequalities, enabling greater access to theatre and the arts, and providing a platform for the creation and expression of original theatre which gives a voice to the most excluded groups within a European Community.
COAST is an artistic cooperation which will work with groups of socially excluded and marginalised people to explore the dynamics of ‘crossing borders’, especially those which are created as a result of migration. The project will explore and celebrate the creative energy which is created at the interface where different cultures make contact eg arriving cultures and the host community. However, crossing national borders is only one aspect of the theme. The COAST project will also deal with ‘border crossings’ between different groups of people within a given society; how do we negotiate and overcome the distances of understanding?
Four community theatre organisations working in four European countries have engaged volunteers/participants from excluded communities to create new original theatre, based on stories and experiences emerging from these creative interactions. These productions were performed in their locality, and then shared and presented between organisations. Connections were further developed between partners through a sequence of collaborative work, training workshops, exchange and secondment of key artistic staff and volunteers, and discussion and deliberation between Artistic Leaders of each organisation.
These explorations of philosophy, methodology and practice engendered a new level of understanding, both on the issues faced by migrant/host communities in each participating country, but also of the varied artistic techniques and cultural approaches which can be used to further community cohesion through artistic initiatives.
The four main partners are:
Acta community theatre (Bristol) UK
Rotterdam Wijktheater, The Netherlands
Artistic Association Grodzki Theatre Bielsko-Biala, Poland
Expedition Metropolis Berlin, Germany