At 7 am on Thursday morning the VJC students participating in the intergenerational drama program Skyped with Applied Theatre students at The Northwest School in Seattle who had engaged in a similar project.
The VJ students did a great job sharing their reflections about the project with the students in Seattle; it was really powerful to see and hear the students connecting with each other because of a shared experience working towards connecting their communities. It is my hope that I will be able to create more of these international student mentoring opportunities in the future.
Thursday evening we welcomed 90 seniors from the Touch Senior Activities Centre to Victoria Junior College. When they arrived, the seniors were given dinner in the canteen (accompanied by a very out of tune student music ensemble rehearsing for a future performance).
After dinner, we brought the elders to the Hall where we had set up ten tables. At each table were several reminiscence cards (loaned to us by Touch), and a group of chairs. We lead the seniors through a sample intergenerational drama workshop, inviting the seniors to share personal experiences which the cards inspired.
Using playback theatre techniques, the students improvised and played back some of the stories they heard for the audience.
After the stories had been shared, the workshop participants shared some scenes they had developed in our workshops. The elders were so fantastic! They dressed up, brought some props, and did a good job sharing their work to an audience. I was proud of them!
After the scenes we shared a video I made (badly – hey – it was my first one!) of some of the photos and videos we had shot during the workshops.
And then the workshop participants were invited on the stage to share a bit about their experience.
The event was conducted in Mandarin (the students translated for me and facilitated a lot of the event), so I wasn’t able to catch everything that was shared, but it was overwhelmingly positive and full of kind words. My friend Sharon came to the event and took a video of the reflections. She has volunteered to translate it for me.
Overall, I the sharing went well. It was clear that the project made a huge impact on both the seniors and the students alike, and I was glad they could share their experience with a larger group of people.
Because of the language challenge, I wasn’t able to facilitate the entire event, and there were times I wished I could have done something more to move things along or help the students remember what we had practiced. But, they were amazing, and I was impressed with how far they have come in just the last few months.
About 5 of my friends / colleagues here from outside of VJC came to the sharing. I wished more people (other teachers, drama educators, etc.) could have seen it.
This weekend I will give 4 presentations between the Ministry of Education’s Teacher Conference and the Singapore Drama Educators Association’s Celebrate Drama conference. Each presentation will include at least some discussion of this project. The students will help me present at one of the workshops.
After that’s all over, I’m going on holiday!