ThE PUNk PROJEcT : 2013

This project is funded by The Youth in Action project of the European Commission and The NYCI Artsist in residency scheme, supported by The Arts office of Limerick County Council.

The County Limerick Youth Theatre are scripting a three act play to create a performance from their exploration of punk rock music through art and drama, exploring ways to be heard as a young person and how to express the need for social change through music and dialogue.  28 mixed gender participants work each week  at the HoneyFitz Theatre Lough Gur, Co Limerick and use drama methodologies to improvise storylines to script a performance based on the Joe Strummer quote,

 "To me punk was an attitude that just said: We don't believe you. We were told we had no right to exist, unemployable, no future for us. And punk had the guts to step up and say I don't believe you. I have been born, same as you. I have the right to exist. And that is punk".  

 The Co LYT are working with scriptwriter Kate Hammond to write their play under the guidance of her expertise.

WHY? Our project originated in Austria at a 4.3 Youth Theatre Partnership Seminar in September where two of our youth theatre members were inspired by the lyrics from the Clash, 

All over people changing their votes

Along with their overcoats

If Adolf Hitler flew in today

They'd send a limousine anyway

and decided that punk rock would be a good way to encourage the youth theatre to explore whether young people today are active agents for social change and how they feel about their rights and responsibilities as European citizens.  They decided to write an outline for this application and present it to the youth theatre on their return from Austria.  Their idea was unanimously accepted by the youth theatre membership and all members voted to participate in the project. 

The youth theatre members, who are from areas of geographical isolation, want an opportunity to learn about issues and a culture (punk) that they would not normally come into contact with, to come together through non formal learning in drama workshops and stimulate a dialogue about youth democracy by exploring punk music, this is particularly relevant since the imprisonment of the Russian performance artists, Pussy Riot.  The members of the youth theatre have contacted the Finnish Youth Theatre that they have worked with for the past two summers through drama based youth exchange projects and discovered that the teenager members of the Loimaa Theatteri are keen to collaborate on the project.  The youth theatre members have appointed three media and communications leaders from their peer group to maintain Skype, e-mail and facebook contact with their Finnish counterparts. Through collaborative activities based on music lyrics, the young Irish and Finnish participants will learn to question positions, to challenge notions which perpetuate inequality and discrimination and explore cultural similarities and differences. The drama also allows the young people equal participation in the dialogue about political activism, giving them a forum for expression and creating awareness of political inertia and the need for young people to actively engage in policy and decision making. Using drama games and activities linked to punk rock music the participants will be encouraged to present their own perspectives on the need for social change.  The moderated workshops with the drama facilitators in Finland and Ireland promote cross cultural respect include workshops for schools in Finland and Ireland and culminate in the performance of the scripted 3-Act play in venues in both countries.

A basic principle of project is the inclusion of all young people. There are no elites through auditions or appearance. The project is directed consciously to all who want to join to explore the issues raised by punk music, not simply as the production of a piece of theatre but with the process in the foreground.  Drama makes it all possible for people to participate together to create Art that is meaningful and of a high quality.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.