Seeking Children’s Truth about Cancer: Mary and the White Pea
Demetra Socratous, teacher, drama facilitator, writer, Cyprus
Workshop 2,5 hours
Part of the 2018 ATHENS GREECE INTERNATIONAL THEATRE/DRAMA & EDUCATION CONFERENCE
organised by the Hellenic Theatre/Drama & Education Network (TENet-Gr)
The workshop is based on the children book ‘Mary and the White Pea’ (approved by the Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture, 2016) written by Demetra Socratous, on the special issue of cancer. Mary, a girl with a White Pea -tumor- in her head, sets the goal to find it and understand it. Accepting the challenge of the Pea -featuring the unknown and difficult- wanders in the Dream World, finally revealing her heart’s power, its wonder and love. The story is presented through symbolism, metaphors, fantasy, sensitivity, positivity, humor and figures taken by archaic artefacts (White Pea= rosace, rose, symbolizing optimism, power). Participants engage in ice-breaking and cancer-fear release activities. Through still and moving images, they embody the White Pea’s interpretations and the scene just before the surgery. They represent symbolically the journey and the introspection of Mary. The ‘facilitator in role’ of Mary expresses dilemmas/ fears, with the participants arguing and encouraging Mary. The participants represent physically and symbolically Mary’s fight with the abstract wave-spheres (fears), resulting to pair improvisations and conscience alleys preparing Mary-Pea’s meeting. Participants engage in drama technics in order to approach Mary’s understanding and experience regarding the Pea.
During the workshop, participants:
-are carefully initiated into the 'reality' of cancer-patient children, overcoming individual fears and negativity in a safe context, behind the mask of the role
-use drama/ theatre strategies to represent abstract concepts; crystallize complex meanings; reconstruct, reform, reframe and interpret ideas, situations and feelings
-employ specific tools in order to develop children’s empathy, emotion management and expression
-enhance their skills to promote cancer-patient children’s reintegration in school and everyday life.
-become empowered educators, adults, active citizens promoting positive and dynamic attitudes towards cancer and life challenges
-understand that dealing with cancer and the cohabitation with younger or older cancer-patients at school, at home or in society, concerns both adults and children.
Demetra Socratous received a Degree in Educational Sciences with a minor in French Studies (University of Cyprus, 2005). She accomplished an MA in Drama and Theatre in Education (University of Warwick, 2007) with a dissertation on Drama and Emotional Literacy. She recently received an MA in Arts and Culture Management (Rome Business School, 2017). She is a teacher, a drama facilitator, a Human Rights and Peace Trainer. Demetra facilitates Drama workshops (for children, teachers, parents) focusing the development of personal and social skills. She coordinated the Youth and Culture Workshop of the European Capital of Culture PAFOS2017 and co-coordinated the Cyprus Youth Network of the European Cultural Parliament. She acted in Theatre, Storytelling and Invisible Theatre groups. She has been a youth leader in various socio-cultural organizations. A short video on her volunteer activity has been posted on the ‘European Year of Volunteerism 2011’ website. She published the children’s book ‘Mary and the White Pea’ (2015) on the topic of cancer, and the poetry collection ‘Truths, dreams and peace’ (awarded by the Cyprus IBBY).