Belfast, Dublin, London, Cambridge: Alan Dignam's Human Rights! Bloody Human Rights! on tour diary: Epilogue
Planning a project like this takes years. Researching and identifying the key recurring issues in business human rights abuse, turning that research into workable plays, learning how to write interactivity into the plays, raising funding, convincing people to let us perform it for them, working with the actors and project partners, performing it, producing a theatrical tour, listening, noting, collating the legislation and data, engaging with the audience and working to put together the post-production aspect of the film and interviews. Then finally developing a website for the project.
All of this was planned for, indeed so planned for that I forgot about the audience and their reactions to what we had done. Each night of performance was remarkable for the emotions and reactions it engendered in the audience - mostly inspiring but sometimes depressing. This is of course the one aspect of the project we can’t bottle and take away - the emotions in the room, the minds changed or re-engaged, the issues understood and maybe lives altered. You get a taste of it from the video but not really how intense it was at times. This in the end was the part of the project that impacted most on me. In planning and executing the project I had of course provided a forum for opening up business human rights abuse issues to the interested public. However, I had not expected the response to be so powerful and clear. These issues can be fixed and here are some good legislative aims as starting points.
We also met a lot of people. People new to the area, people working in the area, people curious about forum theatre, people I knew already but know better now, people who had no idea what they had come to, articulate people, emotional people, inspiring people, quiet people and sometimes angry people. A lot of people. Already one of the challenges has been what to do with the people we have met and who want to engage more. One step at a time perhaps.
In immediate terms I have been collating data from each of the nights and working/learning how to develop a project website. What you are reading and looking at here is the product of some five months of post-tour development. Now that is finished there are three strands to the continuing project 1) Develop the campaigning aspect of the project now we have identifiable business human rights problems and solutions. 2) The most powerful impact of the project has been on younger people we engaged with and so one possibility would be to take the plays into A level colleges to help inform, educate and develop further solutions. 3) The third strand of the project would be to take the Human Rights! Bloody Human Rights! team to an affected community and help them write their story of business human rights abuse as a community empowerment and communication project. We would then take the plays and perform them in centers of power around the world. First things first though maybe some sleep now. In the mean time tell us what you think we should do next. Over to you... so leave us a comment on the home page. Oh I almost forgot, you can also read Patrick's reflections on the project and his thoughts on directing the plays here.
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