The members of First Act Youth Theatre are this week hosting an innovative arts project involving over 100 young people from the city.
The young people, together with invited guests, ho are part of a unique gathering called INDRA, otherwise known as the International Development for Reconciliation Using the Arts.
Every two years INDRA hosts a world Congress and when the city was announced as the first UK City of Culture, Mary Duddy Founder of FAYT decided it would be most fitting to host the 2013 Congress here in Londonderry as it was a place emerging from conflict and with its rich history of community arts practice. This year the Congress involves young people from Londonderry, Canada, Palestine, Brazil, South Africa, India, Greece, Cyprus and Plymouth, Burnley, Durham and Bolton in England.
The INDRA Congress is a growing, global network of young people, artists, educators and others who share a commitment to the development of the arts as a crucial resource for peace building and the non-violent transformation of conflict. The vision of INDRA is to use the language of the arts to challenge stereotypes, prejudices, inequalities and destructive myths, to build bridges, to promote empathy and to help build positive relationships across perceived boundaries and barriers. The aim of the Congress is achieved through the development of a rolling programme of live regional, national and international Congress events, within a framework of ongoing grassroots activities, training, research and communication.
The young people this week are exploring The Art of Cooling Conflict, a programme of shared creative activities and practice. The Congress offers all the young people and their leaders the opportunity to come together and share their practice, ideas and experience in a series of workshop activities, training opportunities, shared performances, and discussion groups culminating in a shared celebration performance event at the end of the week.
The congress has been funded by: UK City of Culture Culture Company, EU Regional Development Fund under the PEACE III Programme and managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by the North West PEACE III Cluster Group, Arts Council NI Lottery funding, Anna Lindh Foundation, Derry City Council Good Relations Project Funding and sponsored by local businesses Quinns Garage Ardmore and Centra, Trench Road and Mr and Mrs Grace.
There are four strands to the Congress: Each group will have shared and presented work in their own community prior to the Congress. FAYT has developed a peer leadership programme in The Art of Cooling Conflict which has been offered to young people in schools and groups from all across Londonderry including rural areas.
The young people this week are working collectively with a company of artists in dance, drama, music and song, digital photography and visual art to explore ideas and practice together working towards a shared gathering and showcase of art work and performances. The University of Ulster will host a Symposium on Friday, July 5, for arts co-ordinators, practitioners and academics from the wider field of practice of arts and conflict
Finally the showcases will be held on Friday, July 5, at 8pm and Saturday, July 6, at 12pm at the Millennium Forum and are open to the public. Each group will then return home with a commitment to sharing what they have learnt with other young people in their own areas.
For more information on the First Act Youth Theatre or INDRA Congress please contact Mary Duddy on 078 210 700 42 or email firstname.lastname@example.org