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Community Development principles

Historical re-enactment: The CDP’s experience an exhibition was opened in the Belltable Arts Centre in the heart of Limerick city by the Norwegian Ambassador on June 20th. Children aged between 10 and 12 were selected from the local youth clubs, home work clubs and from the local schools. The main focus of the sessions with the young people were in the development of skills in the following areas: concentration, listening skills, role play, improvisation, mime and movement and character development. The children also undertook classes on dance and movement with Helena Enright as tutor. The performance of ‘The Hannah Parr’ took place in St Mary’s Girls School on April 21st and a large number attended and enjoyed the performance. There was very good media coverage for both the play and exhibition. Carmel Duggan, a lifelong resident of St. Mary’s Park and a member of the local women’s group, said the children who took part were "a credit to their parents". Carmel was one of four local women who became drama-class facilitators and worked closely with the children in putting on the play. For more information, contact: St. Mary’s CDP, Verdant Crescent, St. Mary’s Park, King’s Island, Limerick. Tel. 061-411076. Email: stmaryscdp@eircom.net * Joan Keehan is a part-time community development worker with St. Mary’s CDP.

By JOAN KEEHAN ST. Mary’s Local Arts Group was set up in 1996. It is a sub-group of St Mary’s Community Development Project and aims to get people in the area involved in community arts. Previous projects include the Community Pride Festival marking the millennium, St. Patrick’s Day Parade, christmas card competitions, art, drama and pottery workshops, an exhibition of old and new photographs of St Mary’s Parish, and a Family Arts Day. As part of developing the 2005/07 workplan, one of the main aims was to initiate a programme with youth to promote positive self-esteem using the medium of art. In 2005 the group linked with Island Theatre Company and made an application for funding to the Arts Council for a drama project, the application was successful and thus the ‘Hannah-Paar’ project was born. The specific aims of this project were to • Introduce young people to drama with a view to confidence building and skills development. • Use dramatic techniques to explore community issues. • Engender a sense of community pride. • Teach drama facilitation skills to community activists. The project started in October 2005 and was based at Island Theatre Company with sessions held every Monday evening. The Drama Tutor was Niamh Bowen and four women from St. Mary’s Women’s Group (Carmel Duggan, Joan Keehan, Slyvia Gibbons and Cora Boland) came in to train as drama facilitators. The women trainees went on to introduce and facilitate drama exercises with the young people, putting at least a hundred volunteer hours into the project. A photographer Deirdre Power took photos of all the sessions and

Your community has stories to tell! NIAMH Bowen of Island Theatre hopes to do something similar to the Hannah Parr project again and is open to suggestions from community groups in the mid-west and a little beyond who have an idea for an historical reenactment: Part of the aim was to improve the area's reputation and all the press we got - through PR undertaken by us in Island Theatre and by the CDP - was positive. There was never a mention of the area being disadvantaged. "I found it great working with the CDP's women's group, they took on loads of work and did all the costuming. They have gone on now to work with other theatre groups – in a voluntary capacity - doing costumes and backstage work. They gained transferable skills during the 'Hannah Parr' project. "It's very easy to devise a play around something that happened in your area," added Niamh who is awaiting your community group's suggestions. Contact Niamh Bowen at: Island Theatre Company, Church Street, Kings Island, Limerick. Tel: 061-410433_Fax: 061-400997._E-mail: niamh.bowen@gmail.com_ Website: www.islandtheatrecompany.ie

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Niamh Bowen: open to suggestions.

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