Completion of Franciscan Social Theatre Project for Ukrainians
Light Dispelling Darkness
On February 2-6, 2023, a follow up training for the new facilitators of the Franciscan Social Theatre Program was held at the Conventual Franciscan friary in Kalwaria Pacławska, Poland, on the border with Ukraine.
Friar Stefano LUCA, OMF Cap., Director of the Franciscan Social Theatre Program, and Friar Michael LASKY, OFM Conv., General Delegate for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC), worked with the participants to evaluate eleven social theatre workshops held over the past six months. Their light dispels the darkness of war and despair by bringing hope, peace and goodness to those in need.
In Poland, workshops were held for blind and visually impaired Ukrainians as well as for children, including some with autism. Another workshop assisted adults who came to be reminded that dialogue is better than conflict in everyday life.
Workshops in several Ukrainian cities are being held for school children in classrooms or in the school basement if air sirens sound. Life was made a little brighter through the workshops held in eastern Ukraine, including a Christmas pageant in Kharkiv.
Special attention was given to women and children who have been forced to flee the east and resettle elsewhere within Ukraine. Their social theatre workshops include public speaking lessons for women from the Russian speaking parts of Ukraine, while the children benefit from workshops that incorporate field trips to local cultural museums.
These programs are having a transformative effect on everyone, showing that Dostoevsky’s words indeed ring true: “Beauty will save the world!”
Participants in the program are currently in the process of establishing a Social Theatre Network in Ukraine and Poland, in order to better support their work in the future. To learn more about our Franciscan Social Theatre Project for Ukrainians, we have produced a video that can be viewed here:
Friar Michael LASKY,
General Delegate for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation