By Erica Sapir
‘Good Chance Theatre’ is an organization based in London, and created by two theatre people, with the aim of creating a space where refugees can have a space for relaxation, fun, music, creativity, and where art and theatre games contribute to open hearts and help people get closer to one another through the universal language of theatre.
The Good Chance Theatre has installed its two geodesic white plastic domes in ‘La Porte de la Chapelle’ near the big ‘boule’ or bubble, created by the Paris municipality as a first reception centre for the refugees who still crowd the streets of the city. The project ran from the beginning of February to the end of March.
As I read they were looking for volunteers, I put myself forward, not really knowing what to expect. I volunteered for two weeks, taking advantage of the kindness of Subud friends who agreed to host me.
The project runs as a well-oiled machine, with very organized young people with a huge heart and sensitivity dealing with all the difficult issues from sensitizing inexperienced volunteers to the sensibilities of refugees (mostly from Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea) to inviting top theatre artists to give their time and talents to pull in the refugees from their world of despair, uncertainty to a few hours of games, hope and warmth.
My experience in those two weeks has been unforgettable… I participated in all activities in the workshops, creating quite a riot among the refugees, as for them it is not quite usual (or not in their culture) to see a white-haired grandmother jump around, making a fool of herself for fun.
Some days I made some puppets with the few kids who were there, and with the visiting artists I also put in my contribution creating some simple puppets in Kraft-paper, which were used in the ‘final show’… part of which you can see here .
But the two weeks I spent with the ‘Good Chance Theatre’ where more a gift to myself, to be part of a group of people who are generous beyond their comfort zone and getting to know from heart to heart young people who often left all they ever knew, to come to a world of uncertainty, loneliness and foreignness.