The IMPRO Story
– INCLUSIVE IMPRO THEATER – 2020-1-RO01-KA227-SCH-095356
PROJECT FUNDED BY THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION ERASMUS + PROGRAM
Today, February 28, 2023, ends the implementation period of the INCLUSIVE IMPRO THEATER Project – 2020-1-RO01-KA227-SCH-095356, a Strategic Partnership Project financed by the European Commission through the ERASMUS+ program.
The project ends after a period of two years in which the partnership, through the intellectual outputs created, managed to draw attention to the potential of the values promoted through universal stories, known and liked by all, promoted through the use of theatrical improvisation techniques.
We consider the primary objective of the project fulfilled, namely social inclusion through the use of dramatization techniques as a tool to encourage and develop critical thinking, imagination, and the development of creativity.
Here is the Project Team: Theoretical Highschool ”Grigore Moisil” Timișoara, România – Project Coordinator, Center for Promoting Life Long Learning – CPIP – Timișoara, România, I & F Education and Development Limited – Dublin, Ireland, De La Salle College, Churchtown – Dublin, Ireland, BrainLog – Odense, Danemarca, Centro Internazionale Per La Promozione Dell’educazione E Lo Sviluppo Associazione – Palermo, Italy, Smart Umbrella Management Solutions E.E. – Thessaloniki, Greece, Directorate of Primary Education Of Western Thessaloniki – Thessaloniki, Greece.
Stories, in any context or culture, are fascinating to all of us. Reiterating the deep values of humanity that they carry, through the use of dramatization techniques in the activity with children, was for the teachers involved a way to reflect on the words of the great Romanian professor Ioan Cerghit: “The presentation of the facts in a dramatic setting adds to the teaching an extremely convincing force of suggestion; students live more vividly, with more intensity, understand deeper and retain better what the teacher intends to teach them. Conflict situations, problem situations, aspirations, theories etc., are now treated by students as if they were their own”.
In the first part of the IMPRO project – “Mapping of traditional values” – 12 universal values were found important: empathy, solidarity, compassion, friendship, respect, equality, honesty, inclusion, tolerance, cooperation, sensitivity to inclusion, resilience, as well as 12 stories that best illustrate these values: Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Emperor’s New Clothes, by Hans Christian Andersen, Cinderella by Charles Perrault, The Musicians of Bremen, by the Brothers Grimm, The Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, Robin Hood by Walter Scott, Puss in Boots by Charles Perrault, Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathan Swift, Mathilda, by Roald Dahl, Harry Potter by J.K Rolling, Wonder, by Raquel Jamarillo Palacio, The Selfish Giant, by Oscar Wilde.
We have found out, working with our students, a great openness, pleasure and special interest in the interpretation of the chosen stories. Later applying the methods in the guide, the students transposed themselves into different characters, expressing the desire to continue the practice of dramatic art and applying the activities from the Activity Manual for teachers.
In the second part of the project – “Improvisation for creativity”, we started the workshops in which we carried out exercises in order to develop the creative potential – indispensable in theatrical improvisation, through different techniques: exercises for expressing feelings through graphic/visual art, activities using body language, then literary creation – all found in the Activity Book for Teachers – 12 work portfolios – carried out in Part I of the project.
The students had in mind the expression of values, such as empathy, solidarity, compassion, friendship, respect, equality, honesty, inclusion, tolerance, cooperation, when they carried out preparatory exercises for theatrical improvisation. The activities carried out in the schools of the partner states led to the selection of 80 methods/tips for the development of creativity in order to facilitate theatrical improvisation, which were constituted in the Improvisation Techniques Guide, made available to teachers and youth workers.
Along with the elaboration of Intellectual Output 3 – “Structure of IMPRO stories”, the staging of the plays was prepared. The structure of the story chosen by each partner was oriented towards solving some problematic situations that at a given moment mirror the turmoil of the students’ current lives. At different moments of the game, the participating children externalized their feelings, became aware of the causes that can cause them tense, conflicting states, to be able to “unload the burden” they unconsciously carry, freed themselves from the complexes that may dominate them, which will help reduce or cure the present conditions.
We have reproduced and adapted a quote from the professor Cerghit because it represents – in the description of the dramatization method – exactly what we set out to do with this project, a collaboration of teams of professionals from Europe, to support students who face problems of inclusion, abandonment, loneliness, lack of understanding and others.
The implementation stage of the IMPRO project ended today, but the effects of the activities carried out will constantly remain in the school environment and in the activities with the students involved. Our journey does not stop here, and the connection with theatrical art—created on this occasion—has certainly left its mark on all our activities and hearts.