Overcoming abuse through art and drama

Posted on Thursday, 26 April 2018

A donation of $13,530 from Canterbury League Club to Horizon Theatre in Wiley Park has gone towards an innovative theatre program aimed at educating young people about domestic violence and abuse and how to avoid it.

Called ‘Besting the Beast’, participants worked in drama workshops and used the story of Beauty and the Beast to discuss the different themes of abuse – including physical, gaslighting, financial and emotional abuse.

“Relationship violence remains a problem within society and many times it is an uphill struggle to stem the tide of physical violence. Physical violence remains easy to identify but emotional violence in a relationship can be equally as devastating and it can continue for years unnamed. An abusive partner can even make their victim doubt such abuse actually exists,” said Maddy Slabacu, Artistic Director of Horizon Theatre.

“Workshop participants come out with a better understanding of these difficult concepts and additionally, they can spread the knowledge and ideas that they’ve learned to their peers, family and the wider community.”

The program impacted 72 young people who completed a combined 250 workshop hours over the past few months.

“We also teach participants performance and technical drama skills, and they even write their own stories around the given theme before performing it. It’s a creative process that best allows them to explore and learn for themselves. By engaging them this way, they get to walk in other people’s shoes and thus identify unsocial behaviour,” said Maddy.

“Unfortunately domestic violence is an issue that is prevalent in society and it can only be overcome with a multi-pronged approach targeting everyone in our community. Youth programs like these help educate and empower young people and hopefully we can help break the cycle of abuse at an early stage,” said George Coorey, Chairman of Canterbury League Club.