Blogpost – 15 June 2016 – Love

From Joakim and Sheyda

Hello everyone! Since the last post the participants have written short poems about their childhood memories. We were very pleased with the outcome and we thought it would be interesting to hear more about their experiences and how it influenced their writing.

First out is Yonatan.

How long have you been in the UK?

Five months.

How long have you been with PAN?

I was referred by my support worker. I’ve been coming to this group for about four weeks. I know another person who was already in the group so that helped.

What is your first memory of coming to PAN?

I was delighted. It was exciting because I was meeting more people from my country. I made new friends.

Why do you come to this group?

I like it. I have fun and meet new friends. People are so friendly here and I am enjoying playing games because it improves my English and my confidence.

Tell us one thing that you have learned at PAN.

Can I only say one thing? I really liked learning how to write a poem. I’ve also learned how to present in front of people. You have to think about how to present the game and you can look at the others how they are presenting and learn from that.

What game did you bring to the group?

I introduced a game called 21. I played this game in my country, mostly at birthday parties. Playing it here in London made me remember my time in Eritrea. I used to play it with friends. In our version it would be a boy and a girl playing it and the one that lost had to give the winner a kiss. If you were lucky it was the girl that you liked. I still remember it was exciting and sort of romantic.

When was the last time you played this game?

I was around 16 years old. It was not that long ago. I haven’t played it since I came to the UK.  I still remember the smell of the deodorant that one of the girls was using when she kissed me.

Do you like writing?

Yes, I like writing poems. When I was in my country I was writing quite often in my language, Tigrinya. I would write when something interesting came to my mind. It’s hard to translate from my language, Tigrinya, to English.  I can’t write so well in English but I’ve written some poems.

What do you like to write about?

I mostly write about love, like love stories. We have a lot political problems in our country so we need more love stories because of the difficult situation. I wrote a story about life in Eritrea under the British occupation but I left it in my country. I’ve e only been here a few months so I don’t have many experiences to write about here so I write more about memories from my country.

Do you get to do creative writing in your studies?

I’m doing my ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and we only get to write formal things like letters of complaint and things like that. I prefer creative writing when I get to use my imagination. I love writing about the past, about experiences that people have had.

Thank you for sharing!

 

By: Joakim Daun and Sheyda O’Rang

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Rome to Albania to London

We are all playing it….

One of our participants introduced us to an intriguing game from Albania. It is full of strategy and cunning, can be exasperating and exciting and the groans and cheers are constant. You have to get your counters in a straight line of three and your opponent is trying to do the same and trying to block yours, like a complex game of noughts and crosses.

We were told it is played everywhere, schoolyard, backyard , indoors and anything can be used as counters from pieces of sweetcorn to coins. It  is called Cicmic (pronounced tsitsmits!) and has become a firm favourite with Fortune and we have shared it already in our Games Barters. We have even invented Human Cicmic!

Then while visiting a Roman reenactment in York we saw a stall where games played in the Roman Army were being demonstrated…..

Yes it is just the same – seems they must have taken it to Albania (or vice versa?).

In the Roman Army it was called Miles and they told us there was a Tudor English version called Nine Men’s Morris (anyone remember the quote from Midsummer Night’s Dream? – where the Nine Men’s Morris was “filled up with mud”).

So this game, like so many, has travelled and now we are having great fun playing it.

Come and learn…..

World Play London

 

INTRODUCING OUR NEW BLOG THREAD AS THE FABULOUS FORTUNE GROUP REPORTS ON HOW WE REMEMBER AND TEACH THE GAMES WE PLAYED AS CHILDREN FROM ALL ACROSS THE WORLD

 

Watch Favour plays alone , remembering a playground game

 

our new friend, Joakim, came to a session and these are his words

25 May 2016 – Finding a common language

Blogpost 1 – 25 May 2016 – Finding a common language

Having worked several years with refugees in different countries around the world I was excited to come across PAN Intercultural Arts and when they made a call for volunteers I didn’t hesitate to apply. Here I am a few weeks later at Central Saint Martins in London, where their weekly workshops for the so called Fortune group takes place every Wednesday.

The session is supposed to start at 6 p.m. but hardly anyone has arrived by that time. Artistic Director, John Martin explains to me that the participants come from many different parts of London and don’t always show up exactly at six. As we stand there waiting, more and more people drop in. Some are known faces to PAN and have been part of the group for over a year, whereas for others it’s their first time. The newcomers are nervously looking around, chatting with someone they already know or someone that speak their language. It’s mix of cultures and languages with people from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, and Albania and they have all come to spend the next three hours with PAN.

Finally, everyone has arrived and we can start. Johan leads the group through a session ofintroductions and people start to relax. Each participant then has to introduce themselves in front of the whole group imagining that they are a famous TV-host while everyone else is cheering them on. At first people are shy and say their name and then quickly rush back to the rest of the group. The do it again and again and slowly they start gaining more confidence.

When the exercise ends people are laughing and chatting lively. I ask one of the participants what he likes about coming to this group and he smiles and says: ‘We have fun and it gives me self-confidence for school.’

The current theme for the group is childhood games. Everyone is asked to share a game that they played as child and tell the group a memory they have from playing that game. It doesn’t take long before we are all sitting in a circle singing in Amharic, playing an Ethiopian game called Dimby la Dimby. It doesn’t matter that most of us don’t speak the language. People are fully engaged  and having a good time. As we go through few more games people quickly realize that many of the games from their countries are not that different from the games that people play in other countries. There is common ground.

The night ends with sharing food and the participants no longer sit next to the person they already knew when they arrived. Instead they are busy getting to know a new face, trying their best to get their point across in English. I realize that getting together and doing theatre for a few hours is the highlight of the week for many of the people in this group.

My first night with PAN reminds me that it’s not always the big and complex activities that make the biggest difference. Sometimes a quite simple activity can be just as effective in making a difference.

For the next couple of weeks I will be sharing some thoughts from the weekly Fortune sessions as we continue to explore the world of games. I invite you to follow us on this journey!

By: Joakim Daun – human rights activist and theatre maker

#nosquares #norectangles

This is an imaginary city where a few people would like to live. This might be a city in the future and it might not be, who knows. This may be a real city in a place where we haven’t been to. It’s characteristics are the curves that make the city look like a park with rides.  

These are some questions that people will ask:

Why should everything be in other shapes except squares or rectangles?

How would people feel if they live in this city?

Would you be afraid to live in a city which is curved? 

How does this city look like?

Do you think this city looks similar to another city that you know?

Here are some examples of the buildings that would fit into this city:

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The ArcelorMittal Orbit in Stratford: Think of that building or have a look and you will directly be thinking how curvy it is. You will be asking questions like: 

1) who’s idea was it? 

2) why would they make it so curvy? 

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Sydney Opera House: That building is so perfect for what it is, but again the questions that comes into our minds are: 

  1. why is it so curvy?
  2. who’s idea was it?
  3. does the shape of the building attract more people?
  4. did they have a purpose? 
  5. does the building interact with what happens in there?

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The Gherkin: Some tourists and people living in London have been curious about that building because most of them don’t know what it is. People say that it’s shape is strange and at the same time funny too. Some say it looks like an egg! Those who don’t know what it is they’ve to ask other people questions like:

  1. why the shape of the building looks like an egg?
  2. do people laugh at it or do they get curious?
  3. did they want to make people attracted and curious about the building or it’s built that way because of another purpose?

Our amazing performance!

Here we are back with a good story to tell you: it’s the story of our astonishing performance at the SouthBank Centre. Thank you to everyone who came and supported us. For you who missed the performance don’t worry because we are going to tell you what happened that day. You will get extra content about what happened before and after the performance, and the reviews from the audience.

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It all began with us sitting on the map of London and waiting for the audience to enter the famous Blue Room. As soon as they got into the room they looked over the models that we had placed at the opposite side of the room. They where four models which represented London starting from four different ideas. We mostly used cardboard to make the buildings and they were placed on fibreboard. Once the audience sat we started the performance with a terrific song about London and the people who make London what it is now. Then we started to move around the map like someone was watching us using CCTV cameras and we had to express our first thought about London in one word or sentence. The scene was intense and the audience was really involved.

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We stood up and we started sharing our experience of where we live and a story about where we used to live. Then we invited brave people from the audience to come on the map and to tell us about where they live and what are their memories of where they come from or where they used to live.

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People from the audience thought they have gone to Secret Cinema, because we were showing some films made by us and, at the same time, acting on the stage, and what was good is that the tickets were for free. With these films we wanted to show different stories from the past, starting from an object or a situation; for example: a golden sword, a macaque monkey, an old taxi, shackles, a bar and there are more to come in the next performances.

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Enough said about the performance because we would like you to come and experience it!

We were supported by Pan Team and everyone did an amazing job, we were happy to show what we have learnt during our time here and we hope you’ve got something to take home with you!

Here is the lovely feedback from the audience. We hope to see all of you next time!

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Ready for Tomorrow’s Show!

Today we are rehearsing at the SouthBank Centre. We have prepared an amazing show and we will perform in the Blue Room over the weekend. Come to meet us and we promise you won’t be disappointed. There will be music, images and good acting! You will be our guest and we will guide you in a journey through London, our group and even yourself.

Don’t miss the chance to meet Invisible Londons group and its friends!

Book your ticket(s) here: http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/invisible-londons-92631?dt=2015-06-20

Can’t wait to see you guys!

A trip through London with a van

Museums and bridges are our favourite places in London so we decided to dedicate that day to an exciting city tour. We took the van and moved up and down, right and left, looking for the best that London can offer.

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This is Tower Bridge and that’s where we started the journey of bridges.

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We’ve been to the Roman Amphitheatre which is located, as you can see on the map, between St Paul’s and Moorgate station, and underneath the Guildhall.

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These LED figures represent the gladiators from the Roman’s times. They were fighters who fought in the arena for money, entertainment, honour and glory. They seem really strong and fit. Walking in the amphitheatre you would think that they are there for real but it’s an optical illusion; getting closer you realise that it’s a 2D shape.

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What you see in the first picture is what is left from the sewer that was used as a drain to take the water out of the amphitheatre during the rain seasons.

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After the amphitheatre we crossed five bridges starting from Tower Bridge, to London Bridge, then Southwark Bridge, Waterloo Bridge and we ended up at Westminister Bridge. Likely at that moment it was sunset time so we had the best view at the best moment.

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On our way to Primrose Hill we passed close to Buckingham Palace and we noticed the shape of the Queen Victoria Memorial.

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Finally we arrived at the top of Primrose Hill where the view was terrific. This experience left us with a question in our minds: is that a fox or a dog?

Model City with PlayDoh

The main idea of the project was to create a city which we feel comfortable to live in. People were creative and had many different ideas. We used our imagination and we came out with very different projects. The materials we used were: home-made playdough, paper, colours, pens and pencils. The process was different for everyone. Someone drew first the landscape then made the rest and someone else started from the 3D models.

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These are some of the models we made: one is inspired by Venice with the typical Gondola in a canal, and a romantic dinner of an Italian couple on the side. The next one is a city built inside a castle, you can see the wall and the towers outside the castle but you cannot see the city inside, because is led by a dark lord. Enfield inspired one of the participants, who wanted to represent the movements on the street.

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One of the participants is an environmentalist and he expressed his worries about climate change by using a Sainsbury’s bag to make a volcano in the middle of his city. The last one represents a holiday village with some huts made of straw. In front of the huts there is a lake where you can swim and borrow a little boat, either to go fishing or to watch the sunset.