Refugee radio drama, in their own words
and with their own voices.
Kaleidoscope is a radio drama project inspired by our 2014 We Are All Refugees radio drama series. It is produced by Trojan Women Project Limited. This year and next we are setting up creative writing groups of Syrian refugees (plus a few members of the host communities) in Scotland, Germany, Greece and Jordan which will each produce radio plays exploring issues surrounding their experiences as refugees in these separate countries. We have successfully completed Phase 1 (teaching dramatic writing for the radio) of the project in Aberdeen, Heidelberg and Glasgow. We have completed Phase 2 (rehearsal and recording of some of the participants from Phase 1) in Aberdeen.
The aim is for Syrian refugees to write and perform radio plays for broadcast in Arabic and the host community language. The process of writing and performing these dramas help refugees build communities amongst themselves as well as with their hosts, by exploring together the challenges of adapting to new cultures while keeping a sense of self.
The process has a beneficial therapeutic effect as the participants explore their stories with other refugees and members of the host communities in a group setting. They also feel that they are able to tell their stories themselves in a way that will engage audiences through dramatic storylines, and bring home to them what it is like to be living as a refugee. Ultimately we would like to bring together all the stories from each participating country into one overarching radio drama mini series.
The methodology of the Kaleidoscope project is very adaptable and transferrable to other situations and participants. The efficacy of educational radio drama is recognised world wide. The difference with the Kaleidoscope method is that it is the beneficiaries themselves who are crafting and writing the stories rather than the NGOs, aid agencies, local writers and other benefactors dealing with the situation.
This method was first identified by Charlotte Eagar and William Stirling when they wrote and directed the dramatic content for Nothing’s Going To Change For Me in Nairobi. It was possible to co-write the content of the episodes with the beneficiaries of the contracting NGO, allowing the beneficiaries’ points of view and experiences to come across while also promoting the message and educational themes desired by the NGO itself.