In early September, Peshkar welcomed Pedro Parente on an Erasmus placement to come and work with us for three months. Pedro is from Portugal and was one of the participants on the Under 25 residency programme. Whlile he is with us, he is predominantly working on the ‘Electives’ programme at Waterhead Academy where this term the theme is ‘Radical’. Here is a short blog on his first few weeks in Greater Manchester.

So far this experience has been outstanding and challenging at the same time. Being part of middle-school program has opened new ideas and approaches as a drama teacher. My experience as teacher was always focused on developing oral and physical expression skills. All this method I have been working on, was targeted to the early-years children, most like children that are experiencing their first years at school.

At Waterhead Academy I am being challenged. Most of my educational approaches had failed. So I had to restart all my mind-set in games and concepts to work with the students. I find very intriguing this student’s range age. It’s a specific age in the growing-up process. The students between 12 years-old to 16 years-old are in the transition between the “child” and the proper teenager (something that you must have proud of! I venture to say that this particular age is in fact the age of acting out the most).

So far I have been working around the idea of group and single. I realize now, how complex it is for a teen standing-up and just be within a group. A small child would never be so afraid of standing and act silly to the class, most of them just love to be on the spotlight. Yet I must understand these children are, so far, uncodified towards society’s idea of “how you must be, how you must behave”.

I came to the conclusion that my students right now, aren’t prepared enough to start Drama as it is, so I must start by building some bases – something that bores them. I understand, one would be excited playing a role ride away, cry and laugh, jump, dance, etc. – yet they can’t.

One interesting fact about my ground zero exercises is that they can easily become boring but as I explain to the students: a doctor before being a doctor and before surgeries he must practice in fake bodies; a football player before a match must train, and after train must develop his free kick, corner kick, penalty kick, pass and challenging by himself and towards an empty goal – and even before of everything he must understand how to kick the ball.

In short, at this moment I am focus on group’s discipline and respect. I am trying to develop some kind of trust between me and them. I want them to feel safe doing silly or emotion acts. I must feel that they trust me and they must feel that they can trust me.

Loads of people are keeping asking me the same question: Why Oldham? Why Manchester? Why Peshkar? Why England? What about Brexit? I have no complex answer – and because one image can speak over one thousand words, here you go.

The simplicity of being.

In the end I am thankful to Peshkar for giving me the opportunity of being here. I am learning a lot here. All different forms of knowledge. You’re amazing! You rule! And you fight for a huge cause. Applauses! Thank you!

Originally formed in 1991 as a community theatre project for Oldham’s Asian community, Peshkar has evolved into the UK’s leading participatory arts organisation targeting young people who are deemed hard to reach or socially disadvantaged.

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