RESTORE: REcognition of the Social Theatre Operator as a professional to tackle the Risk of social Exclusion

The idea of “doing theatre” as an activity to support vulnerable people at risk of exclusion has long been present in artistic and social practices. Good practices can be found all over Europe, and show the potential, efficiency and transversal applicability of this approach, which can be successfully applied to groups of all ages and adapted to different problem groups. This educational approach is based on the idea of developing basic competences and skills, increasing the ability to take initiatives and self-confidence through activity in the theatre, thus facilitating social inclusion, relationships, expressive possibilities and, therefore, well-being. On the Italian scene, one of the most relevant examples of good practice is that of the Oltre le Parole association, leader of the European project, which has been training in the field of non-formal education for over fifteen years, but also has important contacts with institutions and the academic world. A peculiar form, born in Brazil during the 1980s and then becoming quite popular in Europe thanks to its transversal applicability, is ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’, based on the idea that while doing theatre, ‘spect-actors’ can transform the relationship between themselves and their surroundings. However, this is only one possible declination of the broad and powerful methodology of Social and Community Theatre, and the Restore project also wants to tell about other possibilities of using theatre through European methodologies and approaches. Based on these premises, the project intends to promote cooperation and exchange of good practices at European level and intends to make use of the advantage of the European Union’s transparency and recognition tools to increase training opportunities and employment possibilities for professionals working in the field of Social Theatre. In particular, the specific objectives of the project are:
  • to encourage the dissemination of Social and Community Theatre as an effective means of social inclusion for adults with learning difficulties
  • to strengthen cooperation and facilitate the exchange of good practices in the field of informal education among the organisations taking part in the project
  • to define a process of recognition and standardisation of the SOCIAL THEATRE OPERATOR profession at European Union level, a new professional figure declined in terms of knowledge, competences and skills
  • The main target groups of the project can be identified on different levels Non-profit organisations supporting different groups of disadvantaged adult learners working Professional adult educators and volunteers working in the field of Social and Community Theatre Groups at high risk of social exclusion and segregation such as migrants, disabled people, prisoners, ethnic minorities, former drug addicts, NEETs, etc. Artists working in the field of fragility, hardship, in contexts of social and cultural margins
The most important tangible results of the project are three Intellectual Outputs, namely:   IO1: The description of the professional profile of the Social Theatre Operator according to EU standards; IO2: The standardisation of Social Theatre Operator training; IO3: Methodological indications for the validation, recognition and certification of the profession at national level. These three outcomes, which are closely interlinked, will be promoted and disseminated through four Multiplier Events, including a major closing event in San Patrignano (Coriano, Italy), preceded by a preview in Rome. Four Joint Staff Training Events will be organised in the associated countries to promote skills development and the sharing of good practices: Peer-to-Peer Learning Workshops (in Italy, Portugal and Poland) to share good practice in training and working with disadvantaged groups of adult learners Pilot courses will be organised to test and validate the training in some of the project partner countries, which will be followed by a work-based learning experience, so that each student will run a theatre workshop targeting different categories and groups of disadvantaged learners. A total of about eighty students will receive training and six hundred to eight hundred participants in fragile or disadvantaged conditions from different categories will be directly involved in this project. A great closing event will take place on 29 October 2022 at the Community of San Patrignano, one of the symbolic places of the whole project, preceded by a preview on 6 October 2022 at the University of Roma Tre, organised by Oltre le Parole onlus, leader of the European project.