Saturday August 24th 2014, the night of the sharing of our work at Coade Hall, Bryanston School in Dorset.  Milena Nikolic, Project Manager from Srebrenica in Bosnia, expressed all of our emotion and fascination and delight at what we had achieved together in 8 days. 

Someone said we had created a "town", a town in which we would all chose to live where race, religion and ability/dis-ability were not the criteria by which society judges us, but humanity, empathy, creativity and our own chosen culture.  

It was a week where the ideas of truth and freedom were explored in so many different ways and many of us expressed how free we actually did feel. This was in part due to the beautiful surroundings of Bryanston and their caring for us with the lightest touch and with great generosity.

We had theatres, small and large, to play in, workshop spaces, gyms, dance studios, projection rooms, a swimming pool and 400 acres of beautiful Dorset woodland and fields in which to feel free and we had each other.  We eat a lot of great food. We partied.  

72 people explored ideas of democracy, freedom, truth and equality through culture and the arts. 50 young people from London and Dorset, Bosnia, Serbia and Romania with 7 partners, 17 artists, facilitators, carers and guests took part in workshops with Parkour, Dance, Music, Drama, Physical Theatre and Production and created not just a sharing but a professional production on the penultimate day.  With thanks to our brilliant production team lead by Bernard Davies and Jude Jagger, the young "Spotlight" production team from Phakama and to the technical team at Coade Hall, Stuart Miles and Jess.

Robert Golden edited the documentary of the project at the moment and this is available to view on Vimeo. We showed the film in Srebrenica during the week of the 22nd September 2014, to the family and community of the 14 young people from that town and Bratunac, who took part in TCFT.

With the encouragement of an officer of Arts Council England we planned this pilot project to explore the viability of a 5 year programme of International Youth events – we tried to think of new words other than festival – someone came up with the title “A Freedom”.  It is “a Mobility”, “a Transition” and possibly “a Movement”.  Perhaps the last description is the most potent of all.

What was imperative in this pilot was that the voices and ideas of the young people led the process as much as possible.  They will continue to inform and lead the 5 year plans.  The facilitators and artists all have vast experience working with young people and in their different art forms, but if the world is going to change we have to  pass on our experience and skills to enable the next generation to fight their own battles.  

We worked towards a democratic process and a structure that was loose enough to provide us with the mild chaos that breeds creativity, but designed for the safety and consideration of all
— Tina Ellen Lee, Artistic Director (Opera Circus)

Robert Golden, defined the thinking of the week on our blog pages, “Art Doesn’t Need Democracy, but Democracy needs Art.”

Composer and Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Edinburgh Nigel Osborne has said, “…economics and politics have failed us and all we have left to trust are culture and the arts…..”

With this in mind TCFT sets out to bring young people together to explore ideas through a process that allows them the mobility to meet, discuss, play, create and think within a cultural space of our own making, a “creative town”.

As a result of the week there are a number of new young artistic collaborations being discussed, Dave Young, Remix Gold, Dorset UK and Filip Jokanovic, Fetus, Srebrenica, BiH will continue to explore a theatre piece together, Vladimir Anton, Bucharest, Romania with Opera Circus will work towards inviting Dave and Filip to Bucharest to see one of his productions and talk about working together on a new project and Zoe Cochrane will devise a new dance piece to Dave Young’s performance poetry.

Fabio Santos is developing a youth Fund Raising Training Programme to encourage skills both for this project and others.  Fabio Santos is also leading our fund raising programme.  A full list of partners for the next two years of the programme will be on this web site shortly.

In 2015 the event will be in Bosnia. 

Ruth Daniel from In Place of War, Manchester University was with us for three days talking about the new programme they are developing on Social Entrepreneurship. As a result Srebrenica was the first place in the world to have the pilot project of this Education:IPOW teaching

Robert Golden is leading The Democracy Project in Bridport as part of his HOME in Bridport Project throughout 2015, exploring ideas of Democracy through culture and the arts and finishing with a community exhibition in a number of spaces in the town including the beautiful old Bridport Town Hall and Bridport Arts Centre. 

TCFT project was partly funded by the EU Erasmus + grant programme whose interest lies in language, youth employment, use of digital media and youth mobility.  The original statement in our application for funding stated the following:-

"The Complete Freedom of Truth - Youth Theatre and the Creative Arts, is the beginning of a long term process designed to use cultural and arts activities to provide skills training and cultural awareness for young people by developing their own creativity. The project aims to raise consciousness and encourage a vision of an equal, inclusive and truly democratic society.  The project will be led through a process of non formal learning, combining the highest quality of cultural and arts practice, inspired and facilitated by highly gifted and experienced partners, practitioners and artists."

We would like to thank Claire Hodgson of Diversecity for leading the project as Artistic Director with such expertise and the following artists for their open mindedness, skill and generosity Susan Bisatt, Alex Gochici, Alister O'Laughlin, Miranda Henderson and Kurt Jobling of Urban Playground, Corinne Micallef from Project Phakama UK, Anthony Ingle, Rosie Russell from Departure Arts/Activate, who with Rory Newbery has helped to deliver 38 EU Youth Passes and 7 Arts Awards in development, Bronze, Silver and one Gold through TCFT, Eilis Davis of The Remix, Vladimir Anton who with skill and patience acted as the glue between Dave Young in Dorset and Filip Jokanovic in Srebrenica and through Skype helped to create the first work in progress of a new theatre piece, Billy Read, choreographer and dancer who inspired a group of young dancers to create a beautiful work about freedom and Nela Antonovic' visionary physical piece "Clouds".  Bruno Mastan from Bucharest surprised and moved us all with his magical puppets and sense of wonder and artistry.  Thanks to Milena Nikolic and Nemanja Zekic for all their hard work in Srebrenica in supporting the young people's journey to the UK and to the British Embassy in Sarajevo without whom the visas would not have been granted in time.

You can follow the journey of TCFT through The Blog or receive updates through our Facebook and Twitter pages.