'Getting out of the darkness' is the educational project by Théâtre de Liège.
The project is based on the work of the filmmakers Bénédicte Liénard and Mary Jimenez, who have been giving the floor to refugees for several years. They take their statements in order to incorporate them in their radio plays, their movies and their documentaries.
Their approach inspired Théâtre de Liège to make such an educational project, which invites students to a meeting with the other and with themselves. The theatre works together with the Red Cross of Rocourt, Liège, and with the VSP - “Voix des sans papiers” (“Voice of the undocumented persons”). In order to organize these meetings, Théâtre de Liège receives support of Pierre Etienne, trainer and artist, in charge of the Continuing Education Platform at LEEP – Ligue de l’Enseignement et l’Éducation Permanente (Teaching and continuing education League) of the city of Liège.
Before meeting the refugees, students watch together with their teacher the movie “Hop” by Belgian director Dominique Standaert, which tells the story of Justin, an illegal immigrant from Burundi. When the police arrest his father, he finds a way to escape and is then picked up by Frans, a pretty gruff former Flemish activist. Touched by Justin's distress, Frans helps him face the authorities in order to find his father.
After watching the film, students attend a show called “Les Sans”, written and performed by the members of VSP. Later on, they meet other refugees from VSP and the Red Cross, who tell students their personal stories.
During the theatre workshops here, through leisure and interactive activities, students discover the strength of the theatrical act, which is first of all a way to express and question the world they live in. After that, they are encouraged to share the stories they have heard in order to tell to the others what they mean to them and how they feel about. By sharing such life stories, each of the students will be able to express his and her anger and concern about the future.
Students are also invited to discover, in presence of the directors, the radio play “The sound of the sea”, directed by Bénédicte Liénard and Mary Jimenez, in which a man shares his story about the crossing of the Mediterranean Sea. The project ends with a presentation of the voice setting work in front of the members of VSP, followed by a meeting with the audience.
As a cultural operator in Liège, Théâtre de Liège draws public attention on issues of social concern, starting from humanity itself. For this reason the theatre supports the initiative promoted by the French-speaking Guild Chamber of the permanent Employers of the Performing Arts of the Wallonia-Brussels Fédération, chaired by Serge Rangoni, General Manager of Théâtre de Liège, who called on Belgian photographer Gaël Turine, whose work is part of a documentary strand, in order to shoot portraits. The action so established includes the portraits and testimonies of people with 'contrast profiles', who have been representatives of important social issues in their entirety. In this context, a “Take me home” poster has been created. In order not to forget them, whether they were from here or somewhere else, settled here, in transit or definitely gone, their pictures (above) can be freely collected at the entrance hall of Théâtre de Liège.