I led the first Touch Senior Services and Victoria Junior College intergenerational drama workshop yesterday afternoon.
I always feel nervous when I start a new project or class, I never know how the participants might respond to the activities, to me, or to each other. This project also had a lot of unknowns and unfamiliars – language, culture, intergenerational relations, etc.
The students agreed on a theme for the workshop when we met last week – games. So, I designed a workshop which encouraged the playing of non-verbal icebreaker games, some reminiscence work around games, and image theatre work.
I facilitated the workshop and Jaclyn (and the students) translated for me. Many of the seniors could understand my basic instructions, and I threw in my now three Mandarin phrases whenever they were appropriate (hello, thank you, very good).
I was really surprised at how well the workshop went. The students felt instantly comfortable (there was no awkward moment at the beginning of the workshop where I had to encourage conversation), they were energetic, and helped the seniors into, out of, and through conversations and activities. I was really impressed.
Afteer the workshop was over the oldest auntie in the group came to speak with me. She told me earlier that she had studied English on her own because she felt like she wanted to learn it. She speaks really well. She is 82.
She gave me a big hug and told me that she loved the workshop, what I was doing and bringing to the seniors, and that she loved me. I got choked up. The students witnessed this interaction, and I was pleased that they could immediately see how this work is important and valuable to the community.
The bus was abuzz on the way back to school; the girls were so excited about the workshop, and loved sharing their experiences with each other.
When we arrived back at VJC we spent about an hour and a half debriefing and talking through next steps. The students decided to use “entertainment” as their next theme. Two of the students will facilitate part of the first half of the workshop, and the other two will facilitate the second half.
I am really happy with how things went yesterday. I love doing this kind of work; it brings me so much joy to help people connect, listen, and relate to each other. I am so thrilled to be able to do an intergenerational drama project while I am in Singapore.