Dreamworld, using theatre for education, community development and catharsis

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Often people ask me where did my passion for theatre originated.  To answer that question, I like to remind people a bit of the history of theatre in Greece.

The ancient Greek drama was part of the culture and flourished in ancient Greece from as early as 700 BC. The city-state of Athens became the most significant cultural, political and military power during that period and it was the center of the Greek Drama which was  first institutionalised as part of a festival called Dionysia. The three dramatic genres that emerged there was tragedy,  comedy and the satyr  play.

Athens ofcourse exported the festival to its numerous colonies and it spread over the years to the entire world.

The classical Greeks valued the power of spoken word as a living thing, and it was their main method of communication and storytelling.

Socrates himself believed that once something has been written down, it lost its ability for change and growth, which led to the flourishing of  oral storytelling in Greece.

Dramatic performances including tragedy competition and festival in the city Dionysisa were very important for Athenians to foster loyalty among the tribes of Attica.

After the destruction of Athens by the Persian Empire in 480 BCE, the town and acropolis were rebuilt, and theatre became formalized and an even greater part of Athenian culture and civic pride. This century is normally regarded as the Golden of Greek drama.

The other psychological benefit of  theatre for ancient Greeks was the experience of catharsis which refers to the emotional relief that often occurs during a performance. Catharsis is  a term that Sigmund Freud later  used in his popular  theory of psychoanalysis.

While I was studying Homer Iliad,  Odyssey and other epic poems as part of my Bachelor in Greek Littetarure in Aristotle Universe of Greece, I discovered firsthand the   power of theatre,  when I was serving as an officer in the Greek army, in SEAP in the beautiful island of Crete.

That was one of the most difficult times in my life as we were undergoing a hard training with the aim to break us down physically and psychologically. Towards the end of that training, there was an opportunity to put up a play (satir) at an army camp site and impersonate our commanders.

I jumped onto the opportunity and  auditioned for the role of our  captains (loxagos) who was  giving everyone and especially myself a very difficult time.

The night of the theatre  play (satir) something magical happened. I impersonated him so well that everyone laughed so much, which led to a big catharsis.

After the riveting performance  finished, the General (Stratigos) said that he  couldn’t pay us money for our fantastic play  but he could give us a 3 days  honorary leave instead which was his form of payment; so we got a chance to see the beautiful island of Crete.

My theatre adventures after that involved:

A play called All My Sons with Hellenic Theatre, when I moved  to Australia while I was working at the Greek Consulate and studying a Masters of Cross- Culture Communication at the University of Sydney;

A collaboration with actors, poets and comedians in Brazil when I met my wife and moved to Sao Paulo;  a formation of a youth art collective that performed in various places there such as orphanages and asylums;

Playback theatre (type of improvisational theatre with music based on real stories of an audience)

performances and tours;

Forum theatre performances with  Mind Blank to raise awarness about mental health and suicide in highschools all over Australia.

In all those years of my experience with theatre, arts and community development in Greece, Brazil and Australia, I have met talented young people from all different backgrounds and got impressed by their talent, creativity and generous spirit.

I believe with a bit of support and encouragement, young people can realize their potential and make a difference in our society.

Thatswhy, I need your help now with My Community Project for a theatre show I am producing for young people called Dreamworld.

My Community Project funds projects in each NSW electorate to help improve the wellbeing of people and communities. Successful projects will be determined through a public vote and the projects that receive the most support will receive funding.

If you live in Kogarah Electorate or you know people who live there, you can vote and help me bring my project into life.

Dreamworld, will be a thought provoking youth theatre show that young people will assemble with the aid of local guest artists and mentors (including our own Spiros Papasrefanou).

Dreamworld will offer creative development for young participants and the opportunity to explore contemporary issues through the use of theatre, story-telling and art.

Some of the expected outcomes are:

Young people will feel empowered to showcase their talents and share their stories and topics that matter with the community.

Local community will have the opportunity to appreciate an interactive and creative show and get to know and interact with young people.

Social cohesion will be promoted via intergenerational and intercultural dialogue and understanding.

You will be impressed by the talent, creativity and passion of young people and what they have to say.

Dreamworld has now been included in the list of projects in the Kogarah Electorate and residents of the community are now asked to vote for their preferred project.

There are 7 projects on the list in Kogarah  and the competition will be fierce.

SO I NEED YOUR  AND YOUR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS VOTES for the grant money to go to a project that is led by youth and brings their voices, talent, stories and creativity into the forefront for  the benefit of the whole community.

To vote you can visit your nearest RTA (Service NSW) or go to this web page –

https://mycommunityproject.service.nsw.gov.au/

You will need a Service NSW login and your Medicare number and of course you have to live in the Kogarah Electorate.

If you don’t have a Service NSW login, you can establish one from the web site. Your medicare number is used to confirm your identity.

You can only vote once and you can vote for 3, 4 or 5 projects. You are able to list your selections in the order of preference.

VOTE DREAMWORLD #1

TO VOTE GO TO

https://mycommunityproject.service.nsw.gov.au

PLEASE SHARE to others about Dreamworld so we can keep sharing our deep history, knowledge and dramatic forms with the world  for the benefit of young people and the entire community.

Thank you,

Dimitrios Papalexis

Author, Speaker, Actor & Community Developer

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