My name is Tatiana Psomadaki and I participated in the Erasmus + Antygone project in Palermo as a member of the Greek Team.
For me this experience altered my life in many levels. It was the combination of a trip to a new country, the new people from 12 countries that I met, the locals, but most of all the subject of the specific workshop.
Being a NEET (No Employment, Education, Training) in my homeland for six months I was really disappointed and depressed. When I applied for this project I focused on the uplifting effect of body movement through dancing and theatre and thought that this would be a great experience for me. But this project was not only an “artistic project”, but also included theoretical approach to the subject of being a NEET, through beautiful debates and discussions among a group of 65 educated young Europeans about sociological and humanistic issues and that resulted to a Manifesto with 10 values.
This Manifesto of the A.n.t.y.g.o.n.e. project, if applied to our everyday lives, it is a true inspiration and actually a wish for more quality in our relationships with others in personal and professional level. I have never expected this Erasmus + workshop to have such a deep influence to me and help me in my personal life. I feel a lot more optimistic now that I have shared this experience with 64 other young people and know now that they are out there somewhere trying to apply these values.
Moreover this experience was also a challenge for me because I realized that I am able to create relationships- friendships- with people from different cultural background and ages really quickly, communicate in the English language, -and sometimes body language or sign language- and also be able to live, even for a short period of time, in a foreign country.
I would suggest every young person to try at least one Erasmus + workshop because it can only enrich one’s experiences, character, interests and it is offered only until the age of 30.
So move to praxis and apply as soon as possible! And to as many as possible!
The word ‘’project’’ has synonyms as plan, drawing, design, activity, deal. Well those are some words that could characterize the project which took place in Palermo city, Sicily island and the neibourhood of Ballaro.
Starting the A.N.T.Y.G.O.N.E experience there was the feeling of curiosity of how it is possible by using a Greek drama play to organize nearly 70 people and talk about contemporary situations in the world and specifically in Europe.
We planned a theatrical play in twelve different languages and we managed to understand and share passion with each other. We drew a line presenting our ideas and positions in today societies but also in the ancient Greek society of Antigone and Creon. Together we were able to design our everyday rituals and a unique culture. The activities taking place in the amazing convent we were staying brought us closer as much as the long walks; experiencing the city and the local treasures was another positive side of this project.
In the end we made the deal to spread more love, understanding, less fear and kindness to our small but so creatively shaped worlds.
How can you squeeze 12 countries and 65 participants with different languages, cultures and habits, dozens of actions, non-formal education, debates and discussions, ice-breakers and group buildings, simulations, along with the cultural and not only exploration of a town, the entertainment, the combination of opinions and attitudes, the production of material and a theatrical performance of an extract from Antigone, the Sophocles’ ancient tragedy into 10 days??????
Nevertheless, they did fit in, naturally and without haste, thoroughly and with imagination, in this youth exchange programme in Palermo, Sicily. The recipe for success? A multicultural and beautiful town, Palermo, a responsible organizer, Valerio Strati for Teatro alla Guilla, satisfying accommodation, nutrition of culture, experienced professional trainers - Boyka and Sylvia - with imagination and enthusiasm for what they do, and people..... People, girls and boys, who left behind the things that used to separate us, because we were ready to learn, to understand, to communicate, to make new friends, to be inspired and finally to «change», to conquer the tools that will help us to achieve high self-esteem and self-confidence and not selfishness, to show and find the way out when we confront social exclusion and marginalization. I thank you all for everything you helped me remember and taught me.
Just a few days have passed since the end of the program and still we can not realize that we have gone from Palermo. The A.N.T.Y.G.O.N.E. was one of the most exciting experiences of our lives. At the beginning of the program we didn't expect it to have such a great influence in our personalities and as a result to help us dream for the future. During the program we cooperate with people from abroad to create something special so that we adopted high ideals such as collaboration and solidarity. We consorted with people who had the same passion with us and as a result we built a strong relationship and create common experiences, despite our different cultures. Furthermore, as a Greek mission we felt really honored that we had as subject the ancient Greek drama “Antigone” but also through the extraordinary acting in 12 different languages we managed to approach it from a more open minded view.
When I decided to send my application for the program I only knew it would be perfect because I would do something I love and it would help my professional future and my job. I could never imagine the big amount of positive things and benefits I took with me in the end of this experience! I came close with so many people from so different cultures and became family with people I never knew before and also with people I had so many differences. I learnt with the most beautiful way - through art, to cooperate, to have patience and to act as a team! I should add that I discovered a new love, the dance and that I'm definitely going to do something relevant in the future! It's true that all together, we built something special and that we expressed ourselves, what we feel and what we need to fight for! I will keep these memories forever in my heart and I hope to relive it sometime soon! Thank you!
When I was informed that I will take part in the program I was extremely doubtful about what was going to happen in Palermo. By the time I arrived there and we started working for the project I realized that there was no reason to worry about because I had the same passion with all the participants. We loved to dance, acting and having fun all together. As the time was passing we began to create a big international family and this is an indescribable feeling which will follow me for the rest of my life. So many different cultures and traditions but in the end we were all the same and we are proud of what we created in Palermo. The result of our project, the final performance of “Antygone”, will always be there to remind us that by cooperating, working, having fun, being with the people you love and share the same passion can only lead on something special. Finally, this project helped me to dream for the future, find new hobbies and interestings, but also I discovered many new aspects and talents of myself and the last and most important I have a new family. Thank you for everything!!!
What makes a journey successful? The company, the place or the people you meet along the way? Probably a combination of all the above.
However, in our case, our journey was something more than successful. For me it was one of those experiences that stay with you forever, the ones you look back at and smile full of gratitude.
When I first applied for the A.N.T.Y.G.O.N.E project I was excited about the idea of doing theatre with people from all over Europe and exploring our creativity together but honestly I had no idea what we were going to work on. The reality exceeded my expectations by far..
Starting from a deeply inspiring perspective of “Antygone” we worked hard and playfully at the same time. Exploring theatre, dance and rehearsing with 60 at first total strangers became one of the most touching things I have ever tried. We kept on inspiring each other and we pushed each other’s limits in the most graceful way, dancing, singing and laughing together.
And the inspiration didn’t stop there. We went on to create a whole new manifesto, declaring a truly positive and loving way of seeing the world and the people around us. We talked and talked and disagreed and agreed on urgent matters such as social exclusion, ways to get out of it, the limits we set to ourselves and the help we ought to give out there.
I can honestly say that this experience changed me. I know it sounds too big, or maybe too dramatic but I can assure you it’s the truth. I learned to believe in myself and the people around me, I found out that kindness is always the right choice and I realized that no matter which country we are from, or what language we speak friendship and love knows no limits.
I fell in love with Palermo, with its “dirty” streets and the incredible houses and I fell in love with 60 amazing people.
It has been said that “we travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us”. For ten beautiful days life was more intense, more colourful and bright than ever before. Οnce again words are not enough to fully describe it. A huge THANK YOU for everything.
Till the next adventure…
Visit the “ANTYGONE Performance Gallery” by Alessandro D’Amico here:
Read below the “ANTYGONE Manifesto” that we created all together
© Inter Alia 2013