Not All Forms of Abuse Leave Bruises: GRD Workshop

  • Written by: Tafadzwa Masviba

"Whether you tell someone harsh words to their face or behind their back, it has the effect of breaking down that person’s spirit. Most of the abuse we now face in society is not visible and is rarely talked about."

This was one of the many points expressed at the Geraldine Roche Drama (GRD) workshop that was attended by twenty-six artists constituting directors and their casts.

Themed "Understanding Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Abuse," the training was conducted in preparation for the GRD Competition when the remaining six groups will have to perform a play on the theme.

A member of Tamaa Arts, Witness Hadebe, appreciated the training, "This came at the right time and with the right people. We have been hearing of a lot of domestic violence cases happening in the communities affecting women and young girls and we have been wondering what we can do about it. This training is like an answer as it was a really good chance to learn how to perform a drama to raise community awareness about GBV," remarked Mr Hadebe.

The facilitators used a variety of learning methods to make the sessions as interactive and engaging as possible so that the youth participants could be confident and express their opinions openly and be able to perform their roles effectively in acting.

Deaf interpreter, Michael Zowa, articulates that "the workshop was well presented, and the deaf participants were very much included in the discussion forum and able to express their views and give a new perspective to abuse from handicapped individuals."

As GRD programming continues to expand, it has begun to tap into the disabled, "the forgotten society", to draw out talent and give an opportunity and platform to individuals and art groups who have been side-lined due to their disabilities.

The theory part of the workshop involved a lively discussion on forms of abuse that could be represented in a play, these being physical and sexual, emotional and cyber bullying abuse.

Workshop leaders stressed the importance of understanding the topic in all its entirety by doing extensive research.

Subsequently, the practical session of the workshop emphasized that a scene created by young people themselves has to have a main educational objective with clear key messages for the audience.

For example, a main educational objective could be to sensitize the communities about emotional abuse, its causes, and consequences and offer solutions.

Actors were encouraged to completely take on their roles, with full characterisation involving facial expressions, gestures and movement as well as speech projection.

Put together, the theory and practical training point towards an explosive competition are to be expected on the 29th of April 2023 and to be held at Bulawayo’s Academy of Music.