Empathy in ACTion is a training course that aims to provide youth workers with an introduction to Social Theatre and Empathic Listening, for carrying out initiatives that can trigger a change in their local communities. Combining an Empathic Listening approach and Social Theatre techniques for applying it, this project focuses on promoting Social Change through compassion and empathy.
In Empathy in ACTion we will explore the specific methodologies of Social Theatre and Empathic Listening:
Social Theatre is an umbrella term that includes different types of theatre that are done with the specific aim to have an impact in the community. In Social Theatre, the aim is not only to have an artistic result but also to provide a process where different communities and groups can address topics, ideas, and debates that are meaningful for them. Therefore, Social Theatre is not necessarily done by professional actors, directors or playwrights, but by the communities themselves, providing a space for exchange, creativity, and reflection.
Empathic Listening is an approach to listening to oneself and others based on the principles of NVC (Nonviolent Communication), which is a process that combines consciousness and communication developed by Dr. Marshall B. Rosenberg based on historical principles of nonviolence – the natural state of compassion when violence has subsided from the heart. Through its emphasis on deep listening—to ourselves as well as others—it fosters dialogue, respect, attentiveness, and empathy, and engenders a mutual desire to contribute to each other’s wellbeing. The principles of NVC have been used worldwide to mediate disputes and conflicts at all levels including war-torn countries, prisons, schools, organisations, health care institutions and in personal relationships.
Including these techniques and approaches in our everyday work, we can together create theatre plays, performances and public interventions that will talk about our ideas, opinions, and perspectives in life. Through the empathy and presence that Empathic Listening brings to our life and the practical embodied techniques of Social Theatre, we can create, together, a safe space that enables young people to perceive themselves, others and the society they live in in a more compassionate way, questioning stereotypes and prejudices and contributing with their own inputs to the social change.