Dozens of representatives from the Vulnerable Lao Youth Development Association (VYDA), the Lao National Theatre, the Lao National Puppet Theatre and other educational institutions are getting the chance to learn new techniques from Swedish theatrical trainer, Ms Anna Ostlund.
“After we have learned from her, I think the city’s children will get a lot more joy out of our performances,” said a VYDA volunteer, 16-year-old Mr Moungkhoun Chanthapaseuth.
The six day training course is divided into two groups, one for performing for children aged three to seven, and the other for performances geared towards entertaining children aged eight to 17.
In the six-day training course, Ms Ostlund and her trainees visited a kindergarten in Dongdok village and a primary school in Dongkhamxang village, Vientiane, to test their newfound skills.
“We want to see whether what we have learned will be beneficial for the local children,” said the President of VYDA, Ms Phannaly Thephavongs, who is also hosting the training course.
After the workshop, the trainees will be able to apply what they have learnt when performing at their individual institutes for audiences in Vientiane and other provinces, in particular those living in remote areas.
“Children in remote areas often find it difficult to have access to information from the outside world, such as health care and human trafficking,” Ms Phannaly said.
“Transferring knowledge about this problem through performance theatre is an effective way of getting important information across. They can also enjoy the process of learning new things.”
The training course, a cooperative project by VYDA and the Swedish Centre of International Theatre Institute, covers a variety of performance techniques, such as pretending to be various sorts of animals.
“We know this will help to make our shows more interesting,” said the Deputy Director of the Lao National Puppet Theatre.
The training course is sponsored by the Children’s Voice project and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
Cooperation in the arts between Laos and Sweden has taken a new turn as last month, the Lao National Puppet Theatre Group travelled to Sweden to perform at the international Swedish Theatre Biennial, which is an international arts festival, gathering theatre performers from all around the world.
The festival was held in the Swedish town of Örebro, where the Lao puppeteers put on their show with about 1,500 other performers from more than 30 countries.