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Step up to make a change at our Forum Theatre show!

DSC_7242-1024x682
Date: 25 April 2014 (Fri)
Time: 7.30pm (doors open 7pm)
Venue: Training Hub
Social Service Institute
111 Somerset Road #04-01
Singapore 238164

$5 per ticket

‘Just A Bad Day’ is a community theatre initiative which aims to raise awareness and encourage discussion on domestic, workplace and dating violence.

We have used this novel and interactive tool in schools, community centres and and family service centres to promote healthy relationships and violence-free communities.

The forum theatre format invites the audience to come up on stage and explore different strategies to improve the situation.

‘Just A Bad Day’ promises to be a stimulating encounter. Through this intimate performance, we hope to provoke thought and discussion on the less tangible forms of violence against women that continue to be a reality in Singapore.

Our first public show of the year is jointly organised by We Can! Singapore and Singapore Service Institute. You can find out more about the play here.

Click here to purchase your ticket for the event!

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Blog

Change Maker Reunion: Making waves in the community

we can logo (1)Thank you for joining us on our journey towards a gender-equal and violence-free society. You are invited to our very first Change Maker Reunion!

Date: 5 April 2014 (Saturday)
Time: 3pm-6pm
Venue: Zsofi Tapas Bar, 68 Dunlop Street, Singapore 209396

*Scrumptious tea will be provided!

Register here.

By taking the Change Maker pledge, you joined 3.9 million people around the world who are speaking up against violence in their societies.

In 2013, We Can! Singapore launched, reaching out to the Singapore community through theatre, workshops, art, media and more. With your help, we raised awareness and inspired action to reduce social tolerance of all forms of violence against women.

This year, we want to deepen that change and invite you to be part of that process.

We have big plans and exciting ideas for 2014! We want to grow the Change Maker community, mobilise youth to lead the campaign and inspire change at all levels. To do this better, we want to hear from you.

Come down on 5 April and amidst food, drinks and new friendships, share with us your ideas, experiences and hopes for change. Change Makers from different walks of life will be speaking about their stories of personal change and their experiences with community outreach. If you would like to share your story, write to us at [email protected].

We will also be honouring the Change Makers who have done exceptional work in 2013, so do come and support them!

We Can! is a community-led movement – it is your movement. You can have a say in the direction and impact the campaign creates this year. So come – lend us your voice, hands and feet.

Programme:

3-3.15pm – Registration

3.15-3.25 – Introduction

3.25-3.40pm – Icebreaker

3.40-4.10pm – Making waves in the community (discussion)

4.10-4.25pm – Outreach through social media

4.25-4.35pm – Opportunities for volunteering and activism

4.35-4.50pm – Presentation of Star Change Maker Awards

4.50-5.15pm – Sharing by Change Makers

5.15-5.30pm – Feedback and reflections

5.35-6pm – Tea and networking

*You are eligible to attend this reunion if you’ve attended a Change Maker workshop or taken the Change Maker Pledge.

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Blaze a trail this International Women’s Day

What makes you angry? What gives you hope? On International Women’s Day (8 March), join AWARE and the We Can! campaign at Hong Lim Park to explore these questions at All Fired Up! iwd-logo-1-1

This electrifying day of celebration will bring together people of all ages, genders and walks of life to share the struggles and successes of the women’s movement in Singapore.

Date: 8 March (Saturday)
Time: 4pm – 8pm
Location: Hong Lim Park
Click here to register!

Stand in solidarity with inspiring slogans and songs, or explore urgent social issues at booths set up by civil society groups. Go wild with our themed graffiti wall, and pass on the flame of hope at our candlelight vigil for the past, present and future of the women’s movement. Art, music, poetry and speeches: All Fired Up! has something for everyone.

Programme highlights:

Workshop: celebration toolkit  (4 – 5.30pm)                 feminist_fist

What’s a party without props? Join us for an afternoon of placard- and banner-making to set your message ablaze. We’ll work together to craft slogans and chants for the evening’s festivities.

Bellyful from EtiquetteSG (4 – 6pm)

Celebrate the fire in your belly! Artist and writer Dana Lam, with support from EtiquetteSG, will create plaster casts of bellies big and small of any age, colour and gender. We hope to have enough belly casts to cover the lawn for the candlelight vigil.

Women Blazing a Trail (5.30 – 7.30pm)

What makes you angry? What gives you hope? Women and their allies step up to answer these questions with honesty and verve, through speech and poetry – with slogans and chants to get everyone all fired up!

Some speaking slots are open. If you have a tale of anger and hope that you’d like to share, please contact Sumedha at [email protected] by 28 February.

Candlelight vigil for the women’s movement: past, present and future (7.30 – 8pm)  vigil

A show of unity to celebrate our past successes and get us geared up for the challenges of the future.  Old and young will stand together and share in the light of hope.

Please register for this event here. If you would like to set up a booth for your organisation at All Fired Up!, contact Sahar at [email protected]

Note: We welcome people of all nationalities to join us.  However, there may be legal limitations on participation for non-Singaporeans in some activities (e.g. slogans).  We apologise for these restrictions, which are not of our choosing.  Please do come and take part in everything else.


Canada imageThis event is kindly supported by the High Commission of Canada.

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News & Updates

We Can! Arts Fest – Where Art Meets Activism

artsThis December, We Can! Singapore is breaking the silence of violence with the We Can! Arts Fest.

Violence isn’t always black and blue. Most times, it creeps into women’s lives unexpectedly – at home, at the workplace, on the street, at a party. It leaves an impact on women, men and children.

Do you know how to spot the signs?

Walk through our interactive installation on psychological abuse, stop to have coffee with a social activist, watch a play on true stories of violence from Singapore, and discover how you can make a difference.

On 8 December 2013, meet others who are using their voices to speak up against violence. Together, we can create awareness and action for a violence-free society.

Artists, activists and survivors are coming together in an exciting lineup to interrogate the different forms of violence around us that go unnoticed because of our silence.

Event details:
Theme: The Silence of Violence
Date: 8 December 2013
Time: 11am – 10pm
Venue: Aliwal Arts Centre, 28 Aliwal Street

Art + film + music + plays + poetry + workshops + more!

Get your tickets ($5) now!

Click HERE for more information on the programme.

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News & Updates

Calling all artists for the ‘We Can!’ Arts Festival!

This December, arts meets activism at the ‘We Can! Weekend’.

The We Can End All Violence Against Women campaign (Singapore) is organising ‘We Can! Weekend’, a unique festival bringing together arts, performance, and community-based events to raise awareness about gender-based violence.

With the theme ‘the Silence of Violence’, the festival will explore the less visible forms of gender violence and its impact on individuals and communities. We want to use the powerful mediums of art and performance to educate and engage the public on the issue of gender violence, and draw attention to subtler forms of violence.

We invite proposals from individuals, organisations, or groups who are excited by the power of collective action in shaping the discourse on violence against women in Singapore. If you are an artist passionate about gender issues and spreading awareness and action for a violence-free society, come forward and take part in the We Can! Weekend!

Dates: 6 – 8 December
Venue: Aliwal Arts Centre
Theme: The Silence of Violence
Target outreach: 1000 attendees
Deadline for proposals: 27 September

Click here to view more details about the festival, and the requirements for artists’ proposals.

You can send proposals to [email protected] by 27 September. We will get back to you by 30 September.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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“Just A Bad Day” shines a spotlight on a dark corner of society

[two_third] Our forum theatre piece, “Just A Bad Day”, has been staged before a number of audiences since its premiere in June. It has been garnering media attention for its spotlighting of an issue that has been kept in the wings for too long.

Forum theatre intervention

The Online Citizen applauded the “safe environment” that the forum theatre provides to members of the audience who intervene. It is heartening that men and women alike have been standing up to intervene during the performances. Knowingly or not, the audience is acting on two important ideas – that the solution is not confined to a single party in the conflict, and that bystanders also incur responsibility if they do not act despite perceiving the warning signs.

The forum theatre experience encourages and empowers people to make such interventions in real life, which is when the need really arises. Choosing to step into a matter that convention dictates is private and “none of your business” can be a daunting task. But indeed, from the personal stories of Change Makers involved in the play – which you can read here – all it takes is a bit more awareness and belief in your power to set change in motion.

The Inter Press Service cast “Just A Bad Day” and the We Can campaign against the apparent strides that women in Singapore have been making over the years. Singapore ranks 13th in a gender development index by the United Nations, ahead of countries like the US, UK, Australia, Japan, and South Korea. Women attain high levels of education and employment. But gender stereotypes and cultural discrimination persist in spite of the reality of women’s achievements. The double burden on women – as wives and mothers, and income earners – has also only been made heavier.

In the face of fear, indifference, convention, and stereotype, “Just A Bad Day” is planting the seeds of transformation in an original and effective way. Enthusiastic response means we have been attracting new opportunities to bring the forum theatre to even more communities around Singapore, so do check back soon for more! [/two_third]

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Quen on “Just A Bad Day”

[two_third]Quen

Quenyee Wong plays a grandmother in “Just A Bad Day”. Here is what she has to say about her experience as an actor and what it means to be a Change Maker of the We Can! campaign.

For me, it truly was a tall order. Here was an email asking people with full-time jobs and a life – well, we certainly hope so! – and maybe even a dog, to put months of their lives “on hold”, to be in a play. Really? Who does that? Once upon a long time ago, I too wanted to run away with the circus, but I’ve since quite adjusted to the demands of life today, thank you.

What did actually get me to sign up for the We Can! forum theatre workshop was, in fact, what the play was going to be about: violence against women. Something went “bing!” in my head. Women’s rights, human rights, the rights of the downtrodden and misunderstood have always been close to my heart. Over a great part of my life, I did identify with the downtrodden. And here was a chance to do something that took on these issues directly!

So two weeks later saw me walking into a room full of strangers of all ages and races, shapes and genders. You’d only see a more diverse group, well, at the circus. After the initial hellos and introductions, the amazing journey of forum theatre training began! Under the careful moulding of a veteran theatre practitioner named Li Xie, we started to open up and warm towards each other through different trust-building exercises. In one such exercise, we wandered with eyes closed within the confines of a room and, at the instruction of Li Xie, reached out to find a “hand buddy”. That is, we proceeded to feel the hand of the person we had partnered up with, perhaps even smelling it or rubbing it against our faces, so that we could “know it”, all the while with our eyes shut. Then, after mixing us all up again, we had to find our hand buddy purely by feeling dozens of “stranger hands”! What a weird thing to do, I thought, but guess what? Many of us did find our hand buddies, and experienced a most uncanny sense of connection with that person.

Forum theatre rehearsal
Change Makers in rehearsal

The artistic process was most liberating. Soon, this motley crew of volunteers migrated together from a place of shy, giggly awkwardness to a full-on, I-haven’t-even-shared-this-with-my-mom, safe circle of revelatory sharing! The day always ended with everyone coming together in a circle and sharing what we felt or had learnt. And the bare-bones honesty surprised us all! Here was a group of ordinary folk who had come together because we had witnessed or experienced unspeakable violence in our own lives, and now we were bonding over long-hidden secrets. Rape, peer pressure, gender discrimination – you name it, it figured in our individual experiences. It made you think, wow, violence really is just one or two degrees of separation away! In fact, if you were willing to look, you would see it happening in your own life as well.

These stories made their way into a piece of theatre that explored violence in both physical and non-physical forms, set in the everyday scenarios where we had first experienced them. Through a progressive series of exercises involving creating tableaux of actions, we pieced the action together and weaved a coherent whole. In a process called “hot seating”, we had questions posed to us as the character we played (for example, a woman who felt compelled to fulfil the roles of wife, mother and daughter-in-law to the highest degree) and we answered them in character. This helped us better understand the stakes involved and our character’s motivations and “buttons” – words or actions that would make them think twice or even change their behaviour. These were “buttons” that our audience members could “push” in order to trigger a different way of thinking or acting.

Quen in character
Quen in character, interacting with a member of the audience during a performance of “Just a Bad Day”.

All in all, the process of creating a forum theatre devised piece made each of us more aware of why protagonists in any particular situation make the decisions they do, which create or add to a cycle of action. We had all come with a certain set of ideas about the issues in violence, and through role-play and discussion, had discovered a lot of the “grey” in things we used to think of as pretty black-and-white. Taking on these issues didn’t sway our resolve. On the contrary, it imbued us with some wisdom: solutions are not cut and dry, and people have to arrive at their own solutions organically.

At the We Can! forum theatre workshop, we found our “therapy” – sharing our stories and putting them together in a theatre piece had, in effect, released us from their hold and re-purposed them for good. Now, it is time to take our process to the masses, to get them to share as well!

We named the play, “Just A Bad Day”, and recognised ourselves as “Change Makers”. Using everything we have learnt from the workshop, the “Just A Bad Day” Change Makers will take the play to Singapore’s multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-abled, multi-gendered, multi-affiliated communities over an entire year.

People need to feel empowered to say no, to pipe up when they would ordinarily have kept mum, to step in where they might have stepped aside before because they thought that violence was a private matter. But it isn’t. Just as you can step into the world of the forum theatre and do something differently, we want people to know that they can change the course of real life, and hopefully history, simply by acting on it.[/two_third]