We here at Theatre of the 7 Directions are offering two Ecotheatre courses this Autumn in The Park Ecovillage, Findhorn (a several minute drive from Forres).
These group ecotheatre journeys will be facilitated by director Laura Pasetti. Through various creative exercises, participants in the two upcoming courses will be led from initial ideas to a finished script. All T7D’s theatre quests climax with a final performance, open to friends and family as well as the wider general public.
Youth Ecotheatre Course: 26/10/23 – 21/12/23
The first is an acting-focused course for young people in Moray aged 10 to 14 years old. Beginning October 26th, it will run every Thursday 4.00pm – 5.30pm for two months.
This will be an opportunity for the young people to find their creative voice, develop their confidence, and make new friends. The group of 10 or so young people will come up with a new story together, culminating in a final show. A potentially life-changing opportunity for Moray’s actors, writers and theatre-makers of tomorrow. Parents pay-what-they-can between £80 and £110 for each child’s place.
Asked about her motivation in starting a course for younger people, Laura said:
“Holding several courses, I am noticing that the levels of anxiety and depression in young people is increasing. I read in a local Moray newspaper a few days ago that a 9-year-old child tried to commit suicide.
“I am also noticing every time I do a course with adolescents that their identity crises are getting more severe, bringing more anxiety and low self-esteem; therefore, I decided to start to work with children aged 10+ to equip them with some instruments that can support their growing process.
“Through theatrical ‘embodiment’ of characters, we learn more about ourselves, use imagination to face our fears, and reach out to the most hidden parts of ourselves in a very safe way through creativity.”
Skills that participants will get to develop through the two months include: memory through learning text off by heart; timing and rhythm (the right time to talk and the value of pausing); body expression; what it means to be fully listening to each other; and how to spontaneously respond in-character to situations in the story.
Adult Ecotheatre Course: 14/11/23 – 28/01/23
A similar Ecotheatre course for adults living around Moray will begin on November 14th, happening every Tuesday 7.00pm – 9.30pm, and one Sunday per month 11.00am – 4.00pm for three months.
Laura says of this one:
“I like to take the adults on a journey of self-enquiry that happens through the collective group. We learn how to build community, and through the act of mirroring each other we gain information about who we are.
“This course will use techniques and games to support the journey of reconciliation and reconnection with who we are. Not merely our individual self, but the collective self, which is not just human.
“It includes the ecosystem we dwell in, our kin self. We are developing a kin-centric consciousness through acting techniques. We will devise a story where each participant contributes with their presence, imagination and experience of life.”
Prior experience in theatre is not necessary for either course. A wide variety of voices and levels of experience is part of what makes T7D programmes unique. For the play ‘Are You Happy?’ in March 2023, participants ages ranged from 12 to 80. Performances were close to sold-out for both showings at Cluny Hill Hotel.
Both Ecotheatre courses will be led by internationally-active director, writer and actor in theatre, Laura Pasetti. Laura currently has a couple of plays touring in her home country Italy.
T7D’s most recent programme was our 2023 annual Summer Camp, where 20 teenagers (many having travelled from abroad) performed to 160 people at a Universal Hall matinee.
We are a Scottish Charitable Organisation offering ecoproductions and participatory ecotheatre programs. Our work is designed to improve the
health and wellbeing of all humans and nonhumans. This is in the face of the uncertainty and changing times that we all find ourselves in locally and globally.
What distinguishes ecotheatre is its specific addressal of humans’ connection to nature and ecology, one of the most urgent issues of today. Through workshops combining performance art with self-improvement techniques, participants are guided through fostering a deeper relationship with their inner-selves, other humans, and all of life around them.
“An ecotheatre performance puts on stage, acknowledges, celebrates and honours all that we are on this planet. As Donna Haraway says, our body doesn’t stop at the skin.”
How We Fit Into Moray
These two courses, happening during cold northern Winter months, are a perfect chance to create meaningful connections and art during a quieter time of the year. Ecotheatre provides a tangible mental health treatment for the social isolation, low-mood and eco-anxiety that are endemic in our current era.
Laura also thinks that Moray is an especially apt and special land for these Ecotheatre courses to be taking place on:
“Moray, home of the Picts and the Scots, witnessed crucial moments in Scottish history. It is a sacred land, walked on and dwelled by a variety of cultures and ancient traditions expressed through ritual and ceremonies, the first forms of theatre.
“It is the perfect place to work on our human heritage and sense of belonging. Nature is really present and vibrant here, reminding us that humans are only one of the myriads of manifestations of it.
“The breathtaking beauty of this region offers the perfect environment to reflect upon our inner beauty and inspires us to re-fill our lives with it.”
For further information about our Autumn 2023 Ecotheatre courses, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Written by Callum Bruce Bell)