Project report: League of Polish Women, Moldova

Grantee: League of Polish Women, Moldova
Project: To strengthen organisational resilience at “Playback Theatre Ink” 

Playback Theatre is an improvisation theatre based on the stories of the audience. The stories of the past influence our choices in the present. Through them we become more aware. The Playback Theatre creates a space where we meet at the level of empathy, which means we are able to hear everyone’s story. This is how we develop our sensitivity to the world, change prejudices and create new connections. Stories can bring social transformations. 

Like any creative initiative, our “Playback Theatre Ink” cannot live without communication with colleagues and studying new approaches. Unfortunately, events in the world have developed in such a way that we are in a kind of vacuum. Playback Theatre Ink is the only one of its kind in Moldova, and all our contacts with other theatres were limited to Ukraine. Now this communication has become impossible. 

During the pandemic isolation, we organised online meetings with other theatres and met theatres and coaches from different countries there. We were fascinated by the skill of the music coach Marat Mayrovich from Israel, and we had a common dream – to learn musical forms from him in which actors create songs in front of the audience and the performance turns into a small musical show. 

Needless to say, we were overjoyed when we received The BEARR Trust’s approval of our project to conduct this training. 

On the day of Marat’s arrival, an amazing thing happened. When our guest checked into the hostel, we accidentally met a representative of The BEARR Trust – Jane Ebel and her daughter – and of course invited them to our training session.

A chance meeting with Jane Ebel

The training and educational performance exceeded all our expectations. It’s amazing how in two days even the most non-musical actors began to compose songs and stopped being afraid to express themselves through song. The musical forms “Bonfire” and “Blues” became the soundtrack of our subsequent performances. The audience greeted these forms with gratitude and admiration. Then they confessed that they remembered the songs about themselves and sang them at home. But both the words and the music were formed impromptu right on the stage. We have received many of the hottest reviews: 

“You’re doing something out of the ordinary” 

Your performances are very therapeutic

Delight! How do you do it?

After an educational performance

Another dream come true was workshop on social theatre “Theatre for Life” with coach Laura Mentz Strakova, whom we met in Prague, where we went on a study visit. He was very helpful in giving us an idea of other types of improvisation theatre. Although the methods of social theater are different from ours, we have received new exercises and tools to make our performances more spectacular. 

Exploring personal boundaries

We invited people from other organisations to this workshop – we had guests from Dubossar from the left bank of the Dniester, our project curator from the Czech organisation “People in Need”, partners from a Psychology Professor and friend of our theatre from Sweden, who is also interested in improvisational theatre. 

Improvisational theatre is primarily a brainstorming session

Conducting these workshops was a breath of fresh air for our theatre. We do not have the opportunity to travel outside Moldova to see the performance of other theatres, participate in training sessions or the International Festival of Playback Theatres. The visit by Marat, who has been communicating with many playback theatres from different countries for a long time, raised our self-confidence. We have heard from this master sincere words of approval of our work. And he also thought about holding the next annual playback camp in Moldova. 

Laura also highly appreciated our skills, and we planned to create a joint project. 

We will use these skills in our future work. Our theatre’s programme includes performances aimed at preventing domestic violence, the inadmissibility of discrimination against women, reducing the level of emotional burnout of volunteers and activists of non-profit organisations, and work in a rehabilitation centre for people with addictions. 

Such training strengthens our professionalism, and most importantly raises the potential of the organisation as a whole. We are developing fast, new projects are emerging. But The BEARR Trust has a special place in our heart – they believed in our initiative and became our first donors back in 2019. 

Organisation contact details:
Chisinau, str. Mateevici, 109 / 1
Telephone: +37379584477

Author contact details
Tamara Ababii, President

Photos by Mihail Potoroaca and Andrei Tabuika

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