JÁ ERASMUS

We at JÁ are proud to have been hosts and producers of the C1 stage of the OUR STAGE Erasmus+ project, designed to engage with Rroma youth from Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain and enable them to develop skills in the performing arts and crafts, with the final objective of developing a stage for Rroma youth to enact, embody and own their own stories and give voice to their own sense of the human condition.  

The project’s main objectives are:

  • to promote active roles and participation in the creative sector for youth Romani artists and travelers
  • to give youth Rromani people the opportunity to integrate the creative sector labour market
  • to train youth Rromani artists and travelers on how to set up performances successfully
  • to raise awareness and fight discrimination against Rroma people and specifically youth Rromani artists and travelers
  • to boost collaboration between Rroma and non-Rroma and promote social inclusion and elimination of discrimination
  • to raise awareness of the rich cultures and beliefs of Gypsy, Rroma, and Traveler communities, and effect change by uplifting empathy in audiences
  • to proclaim the cultural identity of Gypsy, Rroma, and Traveler people by celebrating their respective uniqueness and diversity, inspire dialogue and eliminate barriers between communities
  • to co-create plays and scripts that will promote the history, culture, customs, and traditions of Rroma people
  • to bring together youth Rroma and non-Rroma artists and travelers, to work together and share a diversity of views, knowledge, new ideas and scenarios
POSTER OUR STAGE
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The project deliverables labelled “C activities” include 3 modules hosted in 3 different countries – Portugal, the Netherlands and Austria – in sequence.

Each module comprises a one-week intensive training of 40 emerging Rroma artists and technicians from all 7 countries in the host country, with the goal of developing a recorded performance of an original play, devised by the host country, at the end of the week.

The first leg of this module sequence took place in Portugal during the week 16-20 October at the Centro Artes Marvila, Lisbon, generously made available to us by Nelia Pinheiro, the head of the Companhia Dance de Evora, a longtime friend and supporter of JÁ.

As part of this module, artists and technicians were able to realise the full stage execution of the play BLUES MAKETH THE ROAD by Suresh Nampuri, based on real-world ethnographic research on the Rroma in Portugal. The performance incorporated Romski music from the Czech Republic as well as movement and dance elements drawing on the varied strains of Rroma culture that have taken root in the seven countries.

This activity is part of our European Theatre Lab series and reflects our commitment to training the next generation of European artists and storytellers and developing new ways of exploring the art of telling stories that move.

The recorded performance will be part of a film festival in Prague in spring 2024.

The final showcase, a sumptuous celebration of Rromani stories and storytelling, included two performances titled “The Last Sunbeam of Twilight”

Já’s association with the ERASMUS program began in 2019 when we welcomed a young Czech video artist.

Since then we have had several ERASMUS students work with us in Lisbon:

ANASTASIJA MARCENKAITE

Erasmus, 2022
Anastasija Marcenkaite is a Lithuanian theater and cinema actress. Since debuting in front of the camera at the age of 11 in “The Excursionist”, she has played diverse roles in Lithuanian and foreign cinema projects as well as stage plays. She holds a bachelor’s degree in acting from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater and has 12+ years of experience in dance and professional ballet. Besides her acting career, Anastasija has worked on artistic, communication and educational projects in Lithuania and in Lisbon as part of the OUR STAGE project.

CARO BISSCHEROUX

Eramus, 2023
Caro Bisscheroux is a young Theatre maker, Actress and an Art Director/Production Designer within film. Hailing from Maastricht in the Netherlands, she is currently studying Theatre in Education at the University of arts Utrecht. During her internship at JÁ, she started off as a Stage Manager for the experimental interpretation of Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit and helped out with conceptualizing production aspects for the OUR STAGE project.

DERMAN GULMEZ

Erasmus, 2021
Turkish playwright Derman Gulmez is currently running international online and offline workshops on storywriting for women with participants from war-torn countries including Lebanon, Syria and the Balkans. Her brief is to weave these stories into a cohesive memory play to be produced and eventually staged by JÀ exploring a remembered reality scarred by the anguish and trauma of death and devastation.

GEORGIA BECKMANN

Fulbright Scholar, 2022-2023
Georgia Beckmann is a Fulbright grantee from Boston, MA, USA. She studied directing and playwriting at Trinity College and at the Trinity/La MaMa Performing Arts Program in New York, graduating in 2021. Upon arriving in Portugal in the fall of 2022, Georgia took on a variety of roles with Já International Theatre including Production Coordinator for JÁFEST 2023, Theatre in Palm Digital Resident, Stage Manager, and Assistant Director for Já’s interpretation of “No Exit” and was also involved in the PAL SOUND project

MONIKA VALKUNAITE

Erasmus, 2021
Lithuanian artist Monika Valkunaite will teach musical theatre at the Vilnius Conservatory as part of a JÁ initiative before returning to Lisbon to be involved in our summer workshop program.

RUGILE SABONYTE

Erasmus, 2021
Lithuanian artist Rugile Sabonyte’s Erasmus program pulls in actors from 3 countries – Lithuania, Canada and Portugal – to do a deep dive into classic Slavic and Eastern European literature and dramaturgy, retooling select stories/plays to be stories for and of the present moment. Her program is designed to culminate in a special JÁ showcase ‘The Age Of I’ – a curated performance that serves as an exploration of the female ID and volition at its rawest.
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