"To act is to practice change" uniting performance arts, theater and community development in eight Puerto Rican communities.
We are pleased to inform you that TransformArte continues to operate during the COVID 19 pandemic. Our wonderful team is currently implementing the Virtual Forum Theater initiative, conducting interviews via their cell phones, while maintaining a social distancing, to individuals from the eight participating communities, identifying the main problem, to determine whether this problem has intensified with the pandemic. Also, the community facilitators continue to support their communities through various actions to contribute to their emotional and physical well-being during this period.
After the interviews, the TransformArte creative team will create a Theater Forum piece based on the identified problems. The videos and results will be shared with the community through a virtual platform. We thank the foundations and collaborators who support us to make this possible: Flamboyan Arts Fund and the Segarra Boerman e Hijos Foundation.
What is TransformArte?
TransformArte supports eight communities in precarious conditions in Puerto Rico. Born out of the acute and multiple needs in each community, TransformArte strives to unite community members and strengthen organizational methodologies by promoting civic participation and social creativity.
Using the Brazilian theatrical technique of "Image Theater" and "Forum Theater", TransformArte fosters community dialogue to identify pressing needs or problems within the community to create a project that addresses those needs. TransformArte works with a community facilitator chosen by the participating community organization who dedicates approximately 10 hours weekly over a period of 36 weeks to support the initiative.
Through an open call, the Miranda Foundation appointed a selection committee formed by Lucilla Marvel, Lyvia Rodriguez, Lydia Platón, Marianne Ramirez, Mariolga Julia Pacheco and Lourdes Miranda - all of whom have careers and experience in the areas of culture and /or community organization. The committee selected the following organizations and communities to participate in the project this year:
Juan Domingo in Action, Juan Domingo, Guaynabo
Neighbourhood Committee Pro Development of the Cantera Peninsula, Península La Cantera, SJ
Legal Psychological Clinic, Institute of Investigations of the UPR, Cayey in Villa Hugo, Canóvanas
Committee of Social and Cultural Development, Daguao, Naguabo
Matria Project/Community of Miraflores, Orocovis
Piñones Aprende y Emprende (PAYE), Piñones, Loíza
Urbe A Pie, Caguas (urban center)
To promote civic engagement and expression through the performative arts, specifically theater, thus creating spaces for participation, reflection and dialogue concerning the social problems faced by the participating communities in order to collectively construct artistic proposals that promote local development.
The project is grounded in the ideas of the Theater of the Oppressed , created by theater practitioner Augusto Boal. This technique, known as "Forum Theater", is community-based and collective, enabling community members, with the assistance of actors and actresses trained in this methodology, to represent the "oppressions" of daily life.
Moreover, TransformArte grants an active role to the spectator (community member) who becomes the "actor" through the language of theater, in order to develop processes and experiences centered around social change. This methodology emphasizes recognition, empowerment of communities and problem solving through the Arts.
The "Forum Theater" technique is essential for the exploration, prioritization and visibility of the social issues faced by the participating communities. This methodology focuses on:
1. Exercise and exploration of the body.
2. Body as a mode of expression.
3. Theater as a language.
4. Creation of “mini scenario/ performances,” in which community members debate topics of interest.
5. Follow-up in each community with facilitators trained in community organization and civic participation by TransformArte consultants, El Enjambre, LLC: