Talanoa Mada: Stories to Tell
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Dakuwaqa, a shark god, travelled across the channel to conquer Kadavu, when another god challenged him in the form of an octopus named Roko-Bakaneceva. These were the kind of stories that a group of selected youths shared, modified and performed in the Talanoa Mada workshop. The workshop focused on accessing and analyzing those ancient myths that we often here about every time we go the village or learn about in primary school. The workshop attracted a lot of attention, especially from the youth sector, and close to 30 youths from different ethnic, religious backgrounds & interests groups; participated in the five day event, that was held at the Jovili Meo Conference Hall at the Pacific Theological College, Nasese, Fiji Islands.
The workshop gave a fresh voice to the concerns of youths that participated and made their voices easier to be heard by their elders by using the myths & legends which often details the culture & traditions of Fiji.
Throughout the duration of the workshop, youth identified issues that they perceived as high importance to the development of Fiji as a country. These issues were then grouped under two themes: “Justice” & “Unity.” These two themes were then used as the themes of their plays. The participants had to reflect their issues as a myth they felt has a strong sense of justice or unity and put a modern twist to the mythological storyline. These plays were then presented to international & local organizations and members of the public. There was also an audience feedback session with the actors.
As a positive outcome of the workshop, the youth themselves have decided to form a youth group that solely looks at creative advocacy that would organize theatre productions around Fiji.
Lemaki Makisiale, a participant stated that he felt lucky to be part of the Talanoa Mada group. Janice Chan stated “I've had the most incredible week and met such amazing people. Thank you all for such a memorable week and thank you Henry for bringing us together. I've really learnt a lot and have a new found respect for all.”
Talanoa Mada: Stories to tell workshop was an initiative by the Henry Allen North Shore Folklore Theatre Company that is based in Gloucester Massachusetts, United States in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program Pacific Centre and the Citizen Constitutional Forum and financially supported by the European Union. It was a five day intensive theatre training facilitated by master folklorist & theatre artist Henry Allen.