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Youth Empowerment: an emerging LGBT+ drama group creates awareness

Drama practitioner, Mori Fernandez Plaschinski shares the aims and impact of a newly emergent drama group run by Kite Trust, Cambridge’s leading organisation for LGBT+ youth.  Creating a positive platform for expression and developing self and wider awareness.

The Kite Trust, founded in 1993 is Cambridgeshire’s leading organisation working with LGBT+ young people. We are proud to promote the health, well-being, and inclusion of LGBT+ young people across Cambridgeshire; raising awareness, supporting, and educating our local communities. We offer different services such as staff and school training, one to one support, social groups and cultural summer residencies.

With the aim of expanding our services and including more creative and artistic opportunities for young people in Cambridge, we developed our new project ‘QUACY’ (Queer Arts Cambridge Youth), in partnership with Acting Now, an international social theatre company based in Cambridge. We kicked off in October 2017 with a weekly theatre group for young LGBT+ people.  The participants get together and engage in a program of positive activities that help to reduce isolation, improve confidence, self-esteem and increase knowledge and awareness of issues affecting them.

The main artistic technique we use in QUACY is ‘physical theatre’, a pedagogy created by Jaques Lecoq in 1956 works with a range of techniques to stimulate the body, imagination and creativity, including neutral mask, dramatic stories, melodrama, Greek chorus, comedia dell’arte, buffoon and clown.

This method encourages group work, since it is believed to improve the expression of emotions and feelings. It is a theatrical language where the primary means of creation is through the body and not the mind, it offers a space of creation where participants feel free to articulate their ideas and be creative.

"I love this group because we can all feel free to express ourselves in here, we are like a tribe"

We have been working on building the group’s bonds, developing skills and connecting with the theatrical language. Know we are exploring personal stories and ideas that the participants want to share and put on stage. We are developing our own play, without any scripts or pre-conceived ideas, everything is devised by the participants themselves.

“This is a kind of drama that I had never done before, with topics that are relevant to us. Here we use the connection between our brains our voices and our body”

We are creating a provocative and natural play, where all the young people’s talents are taken into account; our play will include live music, singing, dancing, acrobatics, and poetry, among other surprises. With our work we want to break stereotypes, create a strong connection with the audience and show the power and potential the LGBT+ youth has.

“Here we do the things that we want to do, topics going on in our lives. We use our bodies to express ourselves”

The participants are creating strong connections with each other and the outcomes of this project are going beyond the social and artistic objectives, the young people are feeling real positive change in their lives.

“For the first time I was able to be completely happy in life, at least for the 2 hours this sessions lasted, thank you"

 “I love that we all have something in common, I find it quite hard to get bonded with other people, and it is not something automatic, whereas here we all share something so it feels a lot easier”

We will be presenting our play’s premiere during the Kite Trust’s 25th Anniversary celebration on February 20th at Cambridge Junction.  After that we will have a second performance on 22nd February at CB2 Cafe.

During 2018 we will welcome new members to the group and develop two new plays together.

We will also have an intensive drama workshop during the summer, and further artistic activities during the Kite Trust’s summer residency “CampCamp”.

If you wish to support us and get to know more about the project you can visit our website or email me   

By Mori Fernandez Plashinski

About Mori

An MA Art and Social Responsibility, and BA Psychology graducate,  Mori  has worked in projects combining theatre with social and mental health in Mexico, France and the U.K.  Her work includes drama projects in care homes, drug rehabilitation centres, eating disorders clinics and youth penitentiary institutions.  She is a Project worker at The Kite Trust and collaborates with Acting Now social theatre company.

Join the dialogue - What actions have you or your organisation made to develop your engagement with more diverse audiences? If you’d like to contribute to this dialogue with your own example, please contact us.

Posted by CAN network on 1st February 2018.