“It’s week two of my Theatre of the Oppressed workshops, and it went really well. The project was initially set up (although now open to anyone) as community theatre training for people who work with the Long Grass, who are homeless people, mostly indigenous, that live in Darwin. It seems there are quite a few organisations who do work with them, but now it is thought that Theatre of the Oppressed may be a good thing to introduce. The group consisted of facilitators who work in Darwin using drama and dance therapy. This week we did some getting to know each other and team exercises which resulted in lots of laughs. I then introduced image theatre, firstly creating pictures and moulding. From there we did a Rainbow of Desire exercise looking at our states of happiness, as this is something in life we don’t often do. Everyone took part with full enthusiasm, and are looking forward to learning more over the next few weeks.
All those who know me, know that I DO NOT cook. Mainly because I’m no good at it, and I also seem to end up burning or melting a kitchen appliance. So, why I offered to make Cawl and Welsh Cakes for My Sister’s Kitchen is anyone’s guess! As the project is about sharing recipes from around the world with people from around the world I thought that to give them a taste of Wales during my short stay would be just lovely. In theory. As no matter how much I’ve ate Cawl and Welsh Cakes, I’ve never actually made them myself – never mind for a group of 30 hungry people! At least I had one advantage – the group (apart from Brenda who’s mother is Welsh) had no idea how it should taste, so if it went horribly wrong I could always say ‘that’s how we do it in Wales!’ So nervously, off to the shop I went to buy the ingredients. As Cawl takes a few hours to cook, we prepared the veg and halal lamb in the morning and put it in the slow cooker, deciding to just explain what had happened to the group to save time, but to make the Welsh Cakes with them.
I then had to dash out and leave it to cook, as this week I was accompanying Sarah to a Life Without Barriers workshop at the Refugee Detention Centre. Here Sarah works with a group of under 18’s from Indonesia who are being detained from being caught fishing illegally. Going through identification and checks gave the place the feel of a prison which created an odd feel whilst inside. The workshop went well, we did some exercises and created a story about a poor man who gambled his family away. It’s the first time I’ve worked with an interpreter, so I had to keep remembering to wait and let him repeat what was said. The story was first shown through pictures, then brought to life with words, then gibberish. I learnt some new games from Sarah during this workshop, so I’m going to start writing them down so I’ll remember them when I get back to Wales.
I was then back to My Sister’s Kitchen just in time before people started to arrive – and my Cawl was bubbling away nicely. Soon Chambers Crescent Theatre was full of people, including lots of newcomers who had just arrived in Australia. Everyone was so interested when I showed them how to make the Welsh Cakes (which somehow turned out to be very tasty!) and as soon as they were done hands dived in and they were gone! So, for the next batch I handed over to the others and talked them through what to do. The group really enjoyed mixing and adding ingredients, and then frying – with everyone having a different job. For one lady it was her first time tasting butter, making you realise how different our cultures are and how new this process of cooking Welsh Cakes is to some.
I felt extremely proud as we all sat around the enormous table and feasted on Cawl and Welsh Cakes. And, with the cakes gone in seconds and the giant pot of Cawl empty, it seemed that everyone enjoyed. What did make me smile was the amount of people choosing to have rice with the Cawl rather than the more traditional bread! So my meal was big success, but I think I will stick to the arts from now on…”
Alyson Evans – Drama Development Worker