“Our Family, Our Future” Theatre Forum Engages the Audience to Help Prevent Conflict
Dili - More than 200 hundred men, women and children gathered in Timor Plaza today to participate in Our Family, Our Future”, an interactive theatre forum performance that focuses on domestic violence prevention. The event was organized by the Department of Peace Building and Social Cohesion (DPBSC) from the Ministry of Social Solidarity (MSS) with the support of UNDP, UN Women, and the Millennium Development Goals Fund (MDGF) as part of the 11th anniversary celebration of the Restoration of Independence Day. (Lee versaun Tetum iha ne'e)
“Our Family, Our Future” presents the story of a small family facing economic difficulties and domestic violence and the ways they deal with each other as a result. Through performances by professional actors and role playing by audience members, the programme raises awareness about conflict prevention and peace building, especially in the area of domestic violence prevention.
DPBSC has been using this unique and innovative methodology of theatre forum as an instrument to prevent conflict and build peace in the community. The actors of this forum theatre were trained by an international forum theatre specialist. In addition to domestic violence, they offer shows promoting civic education, peace elections, and good governance.
At the Timor Plaza performance, the basic story of “Our Family, Our Future” was performed two times. The first time was a full performance by the professional actors. In the second, the story was broken up into three scenes each with a particular challenge to be resolved. After each scene was presented, the facilitator invited an audience member to participate by replacing one of the actors of their choice. This audience member then gave his or her opinion on how the issue should be resolved peacefully by acting it out the scene with the professional actors.
“We have to act and talk calmly to solve any problem in the family. This will minimise tension and prevent violence.” said Evangelina de Sousa, an audience member who participated in the theatre forum. “I like this theatre forum performance because it represents the reality of violence happening in our family. I have witnessed such tensions and violence in my family. This theatre forum should be performed often to raise people’s awareness that violence in the family is bad.”