The democracy workshops and action research have been completed. The students are now working on the development of the puppet theatre performance.

In February, the pupils of the 4th grade of the Hainburger Straße secondary school learned about the background of democracy and human rights in three workshops. Already at this early stage, the director and artistic project leader, Karin Koller, tried to find theatrical impulses in the young people through various group exercises and to awaken their desire to play. At the end of this phase, the participants themselves decided who would like to continue working on the project.

Around 40 pupils finally completed the “Action Research” phase from mid-March. The focus was on their own environment and everyday life. The aim was to address and reflect on relevant situations and aspects from a democratic and human rights perspective. Among other things, passers-by were asked whether they vote and asked for three spontaneous words on the topic of democracy. In the exercise “Something must be done”, the young people named problems that directly affect them and that should be (politically) solved. Based on this, in the final workshop they were asked to tell stories relevant to the topic – true or invented. These stories were then rewritten in a second round and told differently again. For example, the girl who was racially abused in the tram and whom no one wanted to help received support from several fellow passengers in the changed story, so that she came out of this conflict stronger.

Now this part of the project is finished, the anticipation and curiosity for the work on the puppet theatre performance starting after the Easter holidays are great. And with them the challenge for Karin Koller. The realisation of a theatre project with so many pupils involved in such a short time is not an everyday occurrence, even for the experienced director. The work will be presented to the public on 27 June in the festival hall of the Landstraße district office.

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