In a statement, the theatre says increased public awareness of the PRIDE program has resulted in more students arriving at MAT to learn about community issues like cancer, domestic violence and the opening theme for week two, cyber-bullying.
Armed with this new knowledge about their communities, students are guided by trained theater professionals from Goroko University in how to turn this information into catchy messages and lively theatre pieces that will inform the general public about these important social issues.
Goroko University’s (GU) communications and media course coordinator, Michaelyn Vamilat, chaired a group discussion with students from four schools on the dangers of cyber bullying. This was before she and her university colleagues led the students through a variety of drama activities to explore the nature of cyber-bullying and how young people can deal with it.
“Today we taught students about what cyberbullying looks like, how common it is and what people can do to prevent it or not let themselves be affected by it. We tried to make people who might be cyber-bullies understand how hurtful cyber-bullying is,” Ms. Vamilat said.
“Through the drama workshops we practiced acting skills while beginning to outline a play that will try to increase awareness of the dangers of cyber-bullying.”
The PRIDE Youth Arts Program is bringing together community groups and students from 12 secondary schools in Port Moresby to develop small plays and theatrical performances that deliver important social messages.
Running over six weeks (July 25 – September 2), the program will be attended daily by 150-200 students who will learn about important social issues from key NGOs before incorporating this information into their own plays led by arts teachers from the University of Goroka.
Eventually, the students will write, develop and produce fully-work shopped plays that incorporate ideas from the various participating NGOs, with mentoring from GU and MAT volunteers experienced in theatre craft. The best plays will be performed at the MAT at the end of the cycle on September 2nd.
Community groups participating in PRIDE include the Cancer Foundation PNG, Transparency International, PNG Resource Governance, the Family Sexual Violence Committee, ACT NOW!, the Kokoda Track Foundation and Digicel Foundation.
Schools participating in PRIDE include Limana Vocational Centre, Paradise School, Gerehu High School, Kopkop College, North East Academy, Port Moresby International School, Caritas Technical School, De La Salle Secondary School, Jubilee Catholic Secondary School, POM Grammar School, Marianville High School, KopKop Secondary School and Gordon’s Secondary School.