Representing gender-based violence: literature, performance and activism in the Anglophone Caribbean

Workshops led by ROOTS Foundation

ROOTS Foundation TT is a youth outreach organisation led by Mtima Solwazi which uses spoken word as a catalyst for social change. The ROOTS Foundation delivered two workshop series for young people that focused on using spoken word and theatre to combat GBV. Both series consisted of ten two-hour workshops.

The first workshop series took place online (due to COVID 19 restrictions) with a cohort of youth group members outside of a school context. The second took place in San Juan North Government Secondary School in Trinidad and Tobago.

Participants in the first workshop series created and performed spoken word poems on the topic of GBV. These poems, and the themes that emerged from them, formed the starting point for a play script which was devised by the ROOTS team in collaboration with project researchers, The Free Period. During the second workshop series, students at San Juan North Secondary read, discussed and performed the play, adding their own improvised final chorus. These students’ responses to the play informed later revisions of the script.

The ROOTS team has also been working with the project team to develop a facilitation guide which enables teachers or youth group leaders to use the play script to engage with young people in conversations about the causes and consequences of GBV, how it manifests in young people’s lives, and possible solutions.

The ROOTS team created these film clips, which reflect upon and contextualise the workshop series and the play, The Free Period, and which include audio recordings and images from the San Juan North Secondary students’ performance of the play.

Photo of the ROOTS team

Photo: the ROOTS team

Students at San Juan North Secondary School rehearsing a scene from The Free Period

Photo: Students at San Juan North Secondary School rehearsing a scene from The Free Period

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