OUR MASK . 2018 . FRANCE
“Our Mask” aimed to involve youth workers and artists from various corners of Europe to exchange and develop educational tools using mask, storytelling, physical theater and social circus as a methodology to provide a safe space and opportunities of expression for youngsters, especially youth at risk, to foster mutual understanding, inclusion, integration, active participation and community building.
About the workshop
The art behind mask theater encompasses a metaphor for the human condition – an simplifying and protecting glass. Working with this tool is an opportunity to find ourselves – our hopes, dreams, fears, and virtues, our flaws and our processes. The neutral mask shows everything magnified. It is an embodiment of truth. It somehow convinces us of the wisdom of radical expression, and if we are here to bear witness to the universe, the mask representation of ourselves provides the strongest commentary. This artistic expression often allows for recognition and processing of emotions because of its non verbal, physical, new kind of language.
Why we chose masks? Find out more about them and our educational approach to mask theatre on our Medium publication here.
Curious about the training and results? Here is our photo album from the workshop for you to have a quick look at our process.
From July 9 to 23, 24 youth workers and artists from 6 different countries: Germany, France, Bulgaria, Poland, Portugal and Turkey, met in our Homade, Brivezac (France). Together they exchanged good practices and facilitated workshops to each other to explore the value and role of mask making and mask theater as powerful agents in the education process of youth.
Another outcome of our activity was the implementation of dissemination events by all participants in their respective communities. All results of our training will be used to multiply the impact of the activities. In the long term, the partnership aims to extend the influence of the project before new target audience.
Meet Richard Kimberley and Juri Kussmaul from Barada Street!
Richard Kimberley has been teaching and performing internationally for 8 years. After traveling for 5 years working with social circus and environmental projects he completed studies with clown guru Philippe Gaulier at his school in France. Majoring in theatre, clown, vaudville & bouffon. Studied clown in Spain with Hernan Gene and Gabriele Chame. Trained Mask (making) & Movement Theatre in Italy with Matteo Destro and Paula Coletto. Learnt directing and devising techniques from ‘Told by and idiots’ Paul Hunter. Trained puppetry and ensemble work with Complicité in England. He continued broadening his clown knowledge with SpyMonkeys Aitor Basauri and Vivian Gladwell at Nose to Nose. Along with training pantomime, music, circus, movement and acrobatics.
Richard’s personal creative work, performing and teaching goes under the name “From The Playns”.
Through his training and performing Richard has developed an interest in exploring and teaching “awareness”. Of the performer, of the audience, of each other and of course of ones self. His work is fuel by the exploration of games and connection the search for where one has pleasure, for where one is beautiful and vulnerable, why one is special and of course… how to share this with the audience.
Juri Kussmaul was born 1986 in the mountains of Northern Kyrgysthan and was raised by Bears! BIG ones! or German rooted Russian musicians. I never can remember which. He moved in 1993 to Germany. He later moved to Berlin and for two years studied Architecture from 2006-08 and Sculpture/fine art from 2008/14 at KHB-Weissensee.
Since his childhood he was surrounded by musical influences and physical education. Known by many as the Human bear Juri has trained years in many different kinds of art (sound art, acrobatics, martial arts, acting, pantomime, dance, music and twirling English gentlemen) with the idea of finding a way to connect those disciplines.
Our Artivists about the workshop
“I learned about neutrality, body awareness and expression. I would like to continue to work on this topic by attending to theatre workshop and organising some as well.”
“I learn that my body is more powerful than what I though. I will use this exercises and this attitude in my job.”
“I learnt very much! The neutrality. De poetry of the body. The silence communication….from here i wanna create very much performs and combine with my actuals shows!”
“I enjoyed a lot working in team, and the challenge of showing it again but differently to an audience who didn’t know us and haven’t been with us in the process to make them discover partly what we have done. It was also challenging to work in team for «not-a-show» when some people in the team were sensitive to the pressure of the audience, which affects their focus and emotions toward the process, but nice to see also how we could support each other also in managing their stress or personal challenges. I have been very touched by the journey of my team mates. And I was amazed by the «not-a-show» as final result of our team works and enjoyed a lot watching all the scenes, and feeling this collective work as a beautiful way to present and to celebrate our two weeks workshops to each others and to the external audience.”
“Loved the improvisations with 2 people! And all the games were great. I’ve never been to a theater workshops with so many great games, congrats!”
“super well structured. so nice to have the little door upstairs that connected the mask space with the theater space. wow. such an interesting co-influencing work. I guess I learned most of all to let the mask work. To trust. man.. that´s so often the answer. ha.”
“To me, it was a life-changing experience for I’ve always avoided being on stage even though I’ve been studying theatre theory, writing & directing academically for years. None of the acting workshops and classes I attended had made a change in my attitude and fears until I worked with Richard.”
“Superb !! I learnt a lot, physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially. The course was delivered with efficacy, care and clarity. I will use some of the exercises and ideas with the target groups I work with.”
About the location
Brivezac is a village located in the Corrèze department in the Limousin region. It is on the right bank of the river Dordogne. It has a community of 175 inhabitants. The church of Saint-Pierre, in the heart of the village, has one of the oldest Roman portals in Limousin. The interior of the village is a patchwork of old houses made with stones from the ruins of old buildings and pebbles of the Dordogne. The bridge over the Dordogne that crosses Brivezac offers a beautiful point of view between cliffs and fields that border the stream.
Our artists and educators lived and worked together in our newly renovated old Barn in Brivezac. We call it “Homade” – a place for artistic exchange and co-creation; a place for nomads, artists, educators and social actors to play, learn, create and share. A place for you and for us, a place to shape our world together! See photos of our building adventures and how our last workshop “Subjective Mapping” looked like in there.