Beyond Social Services Entertains And Engages Marginalised Youths With The Community Theatre

The Community Theatre takes its fifth-anniversary festivities online.

Beyond Social Services Entertains And Engages Marginalised Youths With The Community Theatre
The Community Theatre celebrates its fifth anniversary this month.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, The Community Theatre continues to support youths and kids from marginalised communities.

The Community Theatre is an initiative by Beyond Social Services, which reaches out to residents in public rental housing neighbourhoods and endeavours to provide a nurturing environment for them.

By engaging youths from these communities through drama and theatre, Izzaty Ishak, a lead artist with The Community Theatre, and her team want to create a safe and comfortable space where they can share experiences and explore issues such as poverty, discrimination and injustice.

The Block Party singles out and celebrates life’s little victories.

“Drama and theatre not only entertain the youths but also inspire them to reflect on their own challenges. Through activities such as forum theatre, they get to take over a character and offer their stories with other members of the audience. It becomes a learning experience for both the actors and community,” says Izzaty, who’s also a community worker with Beyond Social Services.  

“Many youths just want to be heard and understood. For example, some don’t feel good when classmates keep asking why they skipped lunch (because they had no money for the day), or why they fell asleep during lessons (to take care of younger siblings).”        

To mark its fifth anniversary this month, The Community Theatre has taken its week-long festivities online. Izzaty says this year’s programme was curated from suggestions from its community.

“Trying to get rehearsals done virtually during Covid-19 was tougher for some because home is not necessarily conducive,” she adds. “But they have worked very hard to take ownership of the project. And I think that’s the greatest satisfaction for everyone.”  

Read on for the line-up.      

22 to 28 August
Without food, music, people and space, can the party go on? This docu-performance, which played to a full house in 2019, explores issues in our society and celebrates the little joys amid struggles.

Watch it here.       

By making theatre and drama more accessible to youths, Giving Ground To Voices: A Human Library Experience aims to encourage them to share on challenges they face such as family and relationship.

25 August, 7.30pm
Listen in – and share your thoughts – as community artists, youth volunteers, and social and community workers reflect on lessons, friendships and the arts at this workshop. Pre-registration is required.

More details here.          

In Giving Ground For Friendship: Something In The Air Script Read, youths and elderly come together to exchange thoughts on diverse issues such as health and poverty.

27 August, 7.30pm
Part of an intergenerational project between The Community Theatre and Theatre for Seniors, this examines how friendship and art can help address issues in areas such as health and poverty. The script read is followed by a panel discussion with volunteer artists from The Community Theatre and collaborators from The Necessary Stage and Yishun Health.  

More details here.             

28 August, 7.30pm
The conclusion to The Block Party Screening that starts on 22 August, this features insights from the team: Rizman Putra (director), Ngiam Su-lin (producer, and executive producer of ArtsWok Collaborative) and Izzaty Ishak (lead artist, and community worker at Beyond Social Services). Facilitated by Assoc Prof Teo You Yenn (School of Social Sciences, NTU), this covers topics such as how art can serve as a platform for marginalised voices.

More details here.       

Every dollar collected from A Magazine subscriptions — priced at S$100 (10 print and digital issues) — will be donated to local charity Beyond Social Services, which helps children and youths from disadvantaged backgrounds break out of the poverty cycle.

Subscribe here.

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