Alyson Evans is a theatre-maker and community artist based in Albury-Wodonga, who is running an eight week ‘Drama for Emotional Health’ program that uses Forum Theatre techniques for local schools and youth organisations. l was down in Wodonga from the 19th - 22nd August to experience one of Alyson’s workshops first hand, as I am creating a Forum Theatre show for my Pathways project, and Alyson is my mentor.
Alyson Evans and Georgina Wood
This is my first visit to Albury-Wodonga and I'm excited to be spending the time with my mentor. I arrive early Sunday afternoon and head into town to meet Alyson for a working dinner at the old goods shed, which is now a restaurant. We talk about the program she’s running and my own Pathways project. I take plenty of notes and we talk until closing time.
The next morning, we head to Wodonga Primary School for Alyson’s fifth session with the group of twelve girls, including teacher Lisa. Each session lasts an hour and a half, and the main focus is on team work, so there are lots of games which l join in. The group starts with some juggling, causing a lot of laughter, and we eventually manage to get six tennis balls in play at one go.
After warming up, the girls create a character who is having problems at school. They will develop this character using Forum Theatre the following week. In the mean time, the girls are split into groups and create three images about friendships. The first image represents a lack of friendship, the second shows ideal friends and the third image is the transition between one and two.
The hour and a half passes very quickly. The girls are a good group - they do everything Alyson asks of them, including helping me put away the chairs! After the session, Alyson and l head back into town for lunch and a debrief. I take some time to mull over all the happenings of the morning and write up some notes as a reflection exercise.
Alyson and I head to a local café on Tuesday morning, where I have a piece of delicious chocolate cake for breakfast, as Alyson shows me how she promotes her program with quotes and statistics. This is material she has collected over the years that she uses to continually update her program template. She also needs statistical outcomes for the Gateway Health Youth and Schools Coordinator, who promotes and funds her program. I have the thought that if l can also work in this way, l will develop further as an emerging artist. This is what was taught and shown to us in the Headway program last year.
I say farewell to Alyson, as she has to go to a radio interview, and l make my way to Albury for a few hours before flying back to Sydney.
Please join us for the showing of the first stage development of Georgina's new Forum Theatre work, developed with participants of the Milk Crate Theatre Community.
Friday 5th October
5:00pm - 6:30pm
Redfern Town Hall
73 Pitt Street
Redfern, NSW 2016
Book your tickets here!
Georgina Wood's Pathways group - including Milk Crate Theatre participants
Pathways 2018 has been made possible through the generous support of Australian Technology Park, Family and Community Services and the City of Sydney.