ALâ’s Community Workshops started in March 2004 to provide people with the opportunity to learn performance skills and technical aspects of theatre. We also encourage participants to develop managerial and facilitation skills.

The workshop members have devised and performed at least 2 shows each year since it was established. Each showcases the quality of talent in the community and gives people the satisfaction of performing in front of an audience. ALâ prefer to perform in community venues and schools. This they have done locally and a number of venues nationally.

Workshops are open from September to May. The only requirements are that adults must be over 17 years old. Being a fully inclusive organization we welcome people of all abilities, national and/or cultural traditions. To date over 400 workshops have been run.
You do not need any experience in drama and there are no auditions. It is an opportunity to meet people, learn the skills of drama and have fun.  The benefits of joining ALâ is that it can improve your social skills, increase self-confidence and make new friends.

The workshop consists of the following

Within the project each person is invited to work in collective exercises. As such, participants push their notion of “working as an individual”, and at the same time, “working for/within a group”.

During the workshops participants discover a new way of doing theatre where they will develop their skills in performance through exercises, improvisations and various themes.

Community is the basis of ALâ’s work, searching for those stories that talk about daily life and are told directly by people in the community. These are great stories that have their own heroes and heroines. They make us laugh, cry and think about human condition and at the same time they are very universal.

When the group reaches a certain level of proficiency, they are invited to create monologues that expresses something related to their lives that they would like to perform/share with an audience within in the community and elsewhere. ALâ believe strongly in being a social inclusive group and we welcome you to join us every Wednesday night from 7.30pm until 10pm.

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Establishment

Since its establishment in Ballybane, Galway, in 2004, ALâ has provided fully inclusive Ballybane Workshops,
Each year approximately forty-weekly drama Community Workshops take place, attended by an average of twenty local people take place.
There are at least two shows per year with public performances in local and national venues including schools and libraries.
ALâ has also provided Theatre of the Oppressed training, outreach and performances since 2006.

Shows devised in Ballybane Workshops include Every Family Got One, School Bully, Alice, Fairy Tales, The Park and Merlin. Since its foundation the Ballybane workshops have had many wonderful facilitators from all over the world;

Julien Javions – French
Miquel Barcello – Spanish
Catherine Simon – Irish
George Miller – American
Kate Scuffle – American
Kieran Reddie – Irish
Janna Lindstrom – Swedish
Sarah O’Toole – Irish
Kieran Reddy – Irish
Gerry Coneely – Irish
Beartla O’Flatharta – Irish
Jenny Basset – Irish

Forum Theatre Presentations:
These were performed in a number of community venues and schools in Counties Galway, Leitrim, Fermanagh and Clare. Some of these Presentations include A Day in the Life of an Asylum Seeker, Divide and Conquer, The Other Side of the Mirror, “The Office” & “Choices” and Crucified Ireland.

Parades:
In 2006 & 2008, ALâ devised and performed a costume pageant in conjunction with the John Paul Centre. No Barriers was performed as part of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in those years. For the “Splanc! Mid-Summer Fire Festivities” was devised and performed as a costume pageant in St Brigit’s Garden.

Training:
From 2006 to present day, ALâ have been running Forum Theatre training courses for community, education and social activists.
To facilitate these courses we employed the best available tutors in Europe including, Peter Hussey, Mary Duffin, Mags McMonagle, Julian Boal, Brazil, Adrian Jackson, London, Gavin Crichton, Scotland, Annette Tierney, Sligo & London and Maria Schejbal and & Krzysztof Tusiewicz, Poland. As a result of this training, we now have six trainers who are now facilitating workshops in Galway, Limerick, Cork , Wicklow and over 100 people have been trained, some of whom are working with their organizations throughout the country. Here is just a snippet of some of the training courses that have taken place between 2006 and now:
2009 FETAC level 4 Community Performance module
2011 Organized and facilitated “Theatre For Change “weekend Festival, Inis Oírr
2012 ALâ Introduction to TO full day workshop Cork
2011 Thirty participants FETAC 5. (6 Weekends Fri to Sunday)
2012 ALâ Introduction to TO workshop Limerick
2015 Institute for Lifecourse NUIG 3rd yr. BA students ‘Youth and Family studies’ Semester 1
2015 Limerick Youth Services Homelessness & Direct Provision

Forum Theatre outreach projects
Forum Theatre outreach projects (average twelve 2.5 hr. Workshops plus performances are now being facilitated by ALâ trained facilitators. They are as follows as follows:

2009 Asylum Seekers Project
2011 New Communities Project Doughiska
2012 Intergenerational project Westside
2011 Active Retired project
2012 Well Being project Merlin Park Hospital
2013 Galway Simon Community
2013 Intergenerational project – Croi Na Gaillimhe, Galway Community College, & NUI Galway 2014 Contracted by the Galway One World Centre on aid to the third world which devised plays on the perception of Africa in Europe.
Here are some of the awards we have won:

2009 ALâ won the JCI
2009 Connacht Tribune/Combined Insurance, “Make it Happen” award
2010 Mayors Award, Nominated for the on a number of occasions before winning it in 2010
2013/14/15 Nominated for the AONTAS Star awards a number of times, short listed last 2 years before winning it in 2015

Other Community Involvement:
As a member of Galway City Community Forum (G.C.C.F) we worked on the development of the Galway City Arts Strategy. In 2011, GCCF organised a concert on February 17 to celebrate World Community Arts Day for the first time in Galway. We had a wonderful line up on the night of the concert, Galway Community Circus, NUIG Trad Soc, ALâ, Tribal Chamber Choir and music from Sean agus Nua. World Community Arts Day (WCAD) 2012- the Galway City Community Forum (GCCF) organised workshops for adults and young people with support from Westside Community Development Project and Ballybane & Mervue Local Community Development Office. ALâ worked with two groups of NUIG business students this year which helped them develop a project each. We also promoted ALâ at the NUIG Student Volunteer Fair.

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