ConnectUp is large-scale cooperation project between theatres, festivals and universities from 10 countries, all working in the field of Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA).
About the project
With ConnectUp we will set in place an international cultural initiative for the target group 12+ in order to counteract the process of increasing social and cultural division across Europe. Under the guidance of professional artists, young people of all social classes, cultural backgrounds and abilities will meet, work and share experiences in various theatre processes. Their minds will be encouraged to remain open to other people, cultures and life experiences. The common experience of theatre won’t solve all problems, but there has to be a beginning!
The University of Agder is the leading organization in the large collaborative project ConnectUp. The project has fourteen partners from the ten countries Hungary, Portugal, Poland, Germany, Norway, Austria, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, Italy, and the Czech Republic.
During the project, 29 professional productions will be developed. The performances will be part of the theaters' repertoire and will be presented at 22 festivals.
Ten theaters with different artistic expertise, nine festivals and two universities, all working with theater for young people, will combine their different competencies in a European "alliance for diversity" and they plan to make major investments in audience development. By having Nelson Mandela's quote "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion ..." as a common starting point, theaters and festivals aim to reach a cross-section of society. In our theater halls, we will mix the already existing middle-class audience with target groups from more marginal parts of society. Under professional guidance, young people from all social classes, from different cultural backgrounds and with different resources will share experiences in theater processes under the theme "The Lives of the Others".
Professionalization is one of the key words for the project, and we will develop and offer an studyprogram in "Theater Communication". Theater educators will accompany all productions and processes with projects involving the audience (workshops + productions where the target group, 12
years and up, are co-creators). In this way, the theaters want to develop into places where young people with different social and cultural backgrounds feel welcome.
The goal of CONNECTUP is to help counteract the social and cultural divides that are being strengthened throughout Europe. In order to achieve this ambition of increased cultural inclusion, we believe it is important to give young people the opportunity to collaborate with people from other national, cultural and social backgrounds. We believe this type of experience is crucial to staying open to other people and other stories. Through experiences of working together, the partners in the project hope that the young people can recognize the potential that a shared responsibility can contribute to in a global society.
ConnectUp is a larger scale cooperation project under the EU Culture Funding Stream Creative Europe for the four-year-period 12/2019 till 11/2023.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
The curriculum is a combination of formal and non-formal methods and is adapted to personal needs and possibilities. The professors supervise the learners’ practical work (around productions and participatory work) to facilitate the implementation of the theoretical learning.
Individual workshops are also run by theatre artists who have special specifications, such as from “I am O.K.” when dealing with the YP with mental disabilities or Dschungel Wien with dance workshops for YP from socially peripheral areas. In this way the Theatre Mediation Programme integrates the national expertise and lifts it up to a European level.
The TMP is planned as a “Dual Education”, which combines parallel on-going theoretical training with practical applications. Each run of the programme consists of the theoretical phase (including E-learning) and the practical phase (Implementation of immediate practical follow up work at theatres / festivals).
In the dual education “Theatre Mediation” we will train more than 50 theatre / festival employees and teachers from key schools to become Theatre Mediators in two 18-month runs. These study programme will be open for Non-Europeans as well.
Each CONNECTUP partner organisation delegates at least one staff member (e.g., a literary adviser, musician, dancer, actor, designer, marketing person, festival organiser) to each of the two runs.
From the key schools one teacher (per partner) will participate. The continuous involvement of teachers in the training and AD programmes is done to achieve the following strategic goals:
To build stable and sustainable networks (theatre / schools), which benefits both sides
To develop a sound understanding for teachers about theatrical processes. Especially for cultural offers off/beyond the mainstream
To teach theatrical techniques that help teachers use playful methods in lessons.
Most of the ConnectUp- partner theatres host large, cross-border festivals for young audiences, some taking place annually, others are biennials. The theatres bring these festivals with them as hubs for exchange, training and dissemination within the cooperation.
While forming the network a focus was set to combine as much diverse artistic skills as possible to implement our self-defined 4 objectives (Diversity, Artistic Variety, Participation, Theatre Mediation). All partners are highly acclaimed cultural institutions in their countries and present excellent skills in specific areas of Theatre for Young Audience (TYA). In addition to the 11 theatres from Europe, further theatres worldwide will be added through the study programme Theatre Mediation.