Volunteering with Crooked House Theatre Company under the European Solidarity Corps programme
About the project:
This project involves working with teenagers aged 11 to 20. We work with young people who come to our centre for drama workshops and to make theatre projects. We also work with young people in the community, where we go to give workshops (eg to schools and youth clubs).
In our centre we offer workshops, devising plays, and rehearsing work for performance. The young people come to 4 separate workshops, each one tailored to their age and interests. Workshops are in the evening time. There are between 16 and 26 young people in each workshop.
We also visit youth clubs, schools and youth projects where we deliver either once-off drama workshops, or more usually, 10-week drama projects. In all of these cases the drama work focuses on helping the young people develop resilience, acquire performance skills, and re-learn the skills needed for active citizenship. We have published material online about how we think drama does this (and it can be accessed here: http://www.kildareyouththeatre.com/reading-room)
Our volunteers can follow a few paths through the volunteering programme. They can learn about and practice drama facilitation, or theatre-making, or project administration and project support. In each case, they will learn the methods and techniques of drama-work, and they will also gain experience in the administrative and support work that needs to accompany direct-workshop contact (session planning, scheduling, registering participants, understanding policy, etc).
During the European Solidarity Corps placement the volunteers will take part in the following activities:
1. Assist directors in youth theatre productions:
learn about using drama with young people
practice administration and organisation skills such as keeping attendance records, composing information letters for parents, updating the social media and website
develop marketing skills by assisting in promoting the performances
practice stage management abilities
become aware of and gain knowledge in health and safety issues associated with rehearsal, workshop and performance.
2. Assist workshop facilitators in running drama workshops:
Acquire new techniques and learn new drama games and activities
Deepen knowledge about group dynamics and group development
understand how to structure and manage a workshop
find and support key learning moments in workshops for participants
encourage participants with mixed-abilities to work together
plan and deliver their own short workshop programme
be supervised and receive feedback and support from experienced professional facilitators.
3. Facilitate the young people in their developmental work (ie help them arrange their own projects and events). Here they will develop their organisational and logistical skills (such as planning, record keeping and accounting). They will also develop an understanding of peer-learning. They will learn about theories of youth work that focus on creating learning environments for young people that facilitate independent learning.
4. Organise access to the building for groups when necessary. This task gives responsibility and helps the volunteers become aware of security, access, timetabling and administrative tasks associated with running a youth theatre. Part of this work is to clean the space once a week and to keep it tidy.
5. Network and liaise with other agencies and youth projects in the community along with Crooked House staff and volunteers. This will broaden their cultural knowledge and also give them an insight into Irish models of youth work and of youth theatre.
6. Attend theatre training and youthwork development courses provided by Crooked House. They will develop their knowledge here and learn how to apply theory to practice. All volunteers must also attend weekly training on Mondays in Crooked House (we train in Child protection issues, safety issues, and in Drama Facilitation).
7. Do administration tasks alongside the administrators of Crooked House. This work involves:
updating the website (being able to use wix.com);
writing and uploading blogs about their experience in Newbridge and in Ireland;
updating the social media sites for Kildare Youth Theatre and for Crooked House;
taking short films and uploading them to YouTube and to social media – these films promote the plays and the workshops;
writing reports in English about the projects we do, especially about the Erasmus+ projects;
archiving the material we have gathered over the years about Crooked House (this means ‘digitizing’ the old posters, files, documents and records of the company and keeping them safe).
Perform along-side their Irish peers in devised and other performances for the public. This develops a range of skills and aptitudes including confidence, presence, problem-solving and collaboration abilities.
8.Perform along-side their Irish peers in devised and other performances for the public. This develops a range of skills and aptitudes including confidence, presence, problem-solving and collaboration abilities.
9.Share their own skills with the young people – for example, if you practice yoga you could do a yoga workshop for the young people.
These are the criteria we used to select our volunteers:
- We ask for people who have some experience of drama. Ideally volunteers will have theatre performance experience. However, you may have studied it in school or university. Or you may have directed a play or acted in one.
- Volunteers should be aged 20 to 30. Some exceptions to this may be made but we favour those aged at least 20.
- Volunteers should have initiative – ie, they are able to start their own work
- Volunteers should be prepared for cold, dark and wet winters
- Volunteers should be able to work in flexible, changing, and organically structured environments.
- Volunteers should be able to work alone and in groups.
- Volunteers from outside the EU must obtain a visa to work here, and they must guarantee that they will adhere to the conditions of that visa.
- Volunteers must be vetted by the Irish police force, An Garda Siochána, before they can volunteer with us
ARE YOU INTERESTED?