ALTRA Association, specialised in mental health, recently hosted the Slovenian round table led by the organisation ProSoc, which was attended by 26 participants from nine non-profit organisations and four government institutions from all over Slovenia. Keynote speakers included Milko Poštrak, expert in concepts and theories of social work and anthropology; Irina Lešnik, expert in humanities and social sciences and interested in the link between art and pedagogical science; Aleksander Grum, experienced in working with and for vulnerable groups, as a disabled person he is aware of the high potential of cultural and artistic creativity to improve the daily life of people with disabilities; Jana Burger, professional specialised in dance and theatre with a focus on the “Theatre of the Oppressed” as a pedagogical method and a form of mediation.
As introduction to the meeting, the moderator first presented the ProSoc Association, the Integra Festival and the RESTORE project. Since the beginning of the debate, speakers pointed out the difficulty in finding a universally accepted definition for Social Theatre Operator, which in general depends on the individual’s specific area of work. Many different terms can be used to identify such figure – theatre pedagogue, facilitator, animator, mentor, socio-cultural worker or just theatre worker. Even though the term “Social Theatre Operator” is unknown to the most, the work of the STO can be witnessed in various fields and professions as it is based on a methodology that combines education, social work with vulnerable groups, pedagogy, sociology, psychology and social inclusion among others. But still, it remains a very poorly valued and paid job, which very often has to rely on brief-term projects granting a stable pay only for a limited period. In conclusion, participants highlighted the need to establish a national-level platform of non-profit organisations working in the field of social and community theatre, as a logic prosecution of the RESTORE project.