In November 2010, I visited my parents in their island paradise that now was home, Port Vila in Vanuatu. Both are working for VSA (Voluntary Services Abroad) on a two year post. My dad is running a successful art project in the prisons and my mum was running the publications department for leading theatre company Wan Smolbag .
From humble beginnings 25 years ago, creating educational theatre shows about issues such as AIDS, which toured the 83 Islands that make up the country and fitted inside one small bag, Wan Smolbag now have a youth centre, a nutrition centre and sexual health clinic, they run education projects about waste management, climate change and environmental sustainability and they produce touring plays as well as larger productions with accompanying educational materials.
I was lucky enough to experience the company first hand, working with the youth drama group, doing acrobatics and circus workshops and helping to create links and opportunities to perform. It was wonderful to experience first hand the success this company has had in development, engaging youth and bringing about positive change.
I was presented more opportunities to give workshops in dance, movement and acrobatics with a school in Port Vila and with a village who hosted us on Tanna. Sharing my skills seemed like a small offering in return for the incredible hospitality the people of Vanuatu always provided.
With 83 islands to explore, a warm and welcoming people and the chance to experience a successful model for the arts being used in a inform, raise awareness and encourage public discussion on a range of contemporary health, lifestyle, environment and governance issues...I'll definitely be returning!
Robyn - new to the whole blog thing