‘Supplicants’ was a youth exchange project that took place in Athens, Greece, from the 5th to the 12th of August 2018. It used theatre, dialogue, and artistic collaboration to explore young people's understanding of the situation facing refugees in Europe, and to help them use performance to share the stories of young migrants and refugees. More than 40 young people from Ireland, Greece and Spain aged 17 - 25 took part in the project as well as 6 young asylum seekers. They came through the NGO agency Praksis in Athens.
The project was funded under Erasmus + programme of European Commission.
The project consisted on workshops on dance and theatre, where our groups could develop new skills related to performance and broad our knowledge and undertsanding of the situation of refugees in Europe. We devised a performance by the end of the exchange which was performed to public in Athens.
The material consisted of migrant's and refugee's stories, and also included the participants' ideas about what our society can do to change perceptions and become more open to refugees.
Here are some impressions of participants:
"I am incredibly motivated, more so than I was before the project, to defend and to stamp out negative perceptions and ideologies of refugees and of their situations. I am now much more motivated, and feel much more of a responsibility, to discuss and educate people who may not think about refugees the same way that I do. I will try my best to change the general negative outlook about refugees coming to Ireland, which we often see here, though discussion, and through education as best I can." Irish participant.
"I find that negative perceptions of refugees and migrants are uncommon in my home community. I think that this is because very little is known of their situations and circumstances. However, because of this project I feel well-informed and capable of reiterating my experience with the refugees to the people around me. If I were to hear of negative perceptions regarding refugees I would certainly intervene with my own opinion. As for the image portrayed of refugees I have told and will continue to tell the people around me of my incredible and joyous interactions with my friends from PRAKSIS, with the same courage, passion and honesty that those friends have shown to me." Greek participant.
"It is nearly impossible not to use acting when trying to express the situation of the refugees, unless you were one of the refugees. We can only imagine what them other young people have been through, it may have been all make believe for us, but I’m sure everything we were doing was touching home for them. Everything they did and said was coming from a real place. There is no s.o.s card in real life." Spanish participant.