The Complete Freedom of Truth (TCFT) is an international youth-led project with the ambition to develop global youth citizenship through culture and the arts. TCFT aims to use cultural and arts activities to provide skills training and cultural awareness for young people across Europe by developing their own creativity. Tolerance, inclusiveness, deeper learning and an understanding of the other are at the heart of this creative process. It seeks to foster understanding between people from different European countries, transcend language barriers and facilitate the space in which to create emancipatory change through the use of culture and the arts.

Seeking to integrate and develop an awareness between otherwise disconnected young people across Europe, TCFT has developed a two-week summer programme where young people come together to discuss social and cultural issues that affect their lives, beginning in Bosnia, August 2015. It aims to develop conversations and activism around issues of democracy and European citizenship. At the heart of TCFT is inclusion and the accessibility of the arts to people of all backgrounds, regardless of disabilities, gender, race or class. It seeks to destroy processes of ‘othering ’and works to encourage a vison of an equal, inclusive and truly democratic European society. The creative workshops and discussion groups are facilitated by both experienced practitioners and young people and the programme is youth led. 100 young people representing 8 different member states of Europe decide the nature of the discussion groups, the main issues which they wish to be represented, and the creative workshops available, ranging from parkour to poetry.

TCFT is passionate about youth agency, and wants to catalyse the growth of young people into the future cultural and social change makers of Europe. Not restricted to the summer programme, longer term youth led creative projects addressing issues such as the European refugee crisis and the representation of minority LGBT groups in Bosnia and elsewhere in Europe are projects run on a voluntary, developed from TCFT 2015 summer programme. These projects share practical examples of ways in which to respond creatively to challenges within your own communities with other young people across Europe.

TCFT seeks to create a living connected community of young people from across Europe who are passionate about positive social change within their communities and Europe as a whole. 

Written by Amy Wisenfeld


In 2009 Opera Circus began to develop a long term series of youth and school's exchanges, cultural and arts programmes between Dorset UK and the  Srebrenica region. The youth participants from these communities realised that they had many of the same problems. High youth unemployment, 67% in Srebrenica, 27% in West Dorset, very low wages when jobs were found, no higher educational facilities nearby, difficulty in finding somewhere to live in the same area due to cost and a sense of isolation from the rest of the world due to living in semi rural and rural environments. Young people in these communities can also suffer from high levels of abuse, poverty, crime, drug and alcohol related problems.  In Srebrenica, there is the hangover from the genocide and high levels of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  As a result of this need, a number of partners in the UK began to develop projects together with other partners through the work of Opera Circus in the Balkan region.  One of the projects was, Simply Human, the final event in the highly successful EU Cultural Project Wake Up.

This led to a number of other youth projects both in Srebrenica and Dorset including https://vimeo.com/65014082 and a youth in action job shadowing programme linking youth centres.  

As a result of this learning process, along with the current economic and political climate in Europe,  Opera Circus suggested to the partners and participants, a new programme of work. 

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 is 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.  There were 72 participants in total from a range of youth centres and youth theatre groups, 32 of whom are socially disadvantaged young people including 6  less-abled young artists. 

Together we explored a 5 year plan of youth activities.  OC is delighted to welcome its first Romanian EU partner. This is highly significant for OC as in 1995 the company was invited to tour Romania with the British Council.  "Shameless" their then current music theatre production, directed by David Glass, was a great success in Bucharest, Cluj, Brasov, Craiova and other cities in Romania.  More importantly the OC artists gained immense respect for Romanian artists and their culture and at the time said that it was in Romania that they grew up as artists.  With Romania becoming a full member of the EU, whose people can now travel freely, it is important that we can contribute to the spread of knowledge, culture and history that surrounds this beautiful country, helping to combat the current spread of  racism connected with their people.  Our programme partners in Serbia and Bosnia have also taught us about their countries and we have learned a great deal from our active engagement with their cultures since 2004.  Cultural awareness, tolerance, inclusiveness, deeper learning, understanding of the other, is at the heart of this creative process.  

The project was held at Bryanston School from August 24th to September 1st 2014.

The activities in this project explored:

  • Ways of creating change through culture and the arts 
  • Democracy and the global citizen
  • The use of music and the creative arts to develop understanding and tolerance through cultural awareness
  • Respect for the environment and public space
  • Building confidence and the development of  youth leadership skills
  • Racial and ethnic tolerance
  • Inclusion - understanding of difference - disabilities, gender, race, class, wealth/poverty
  • Give and Gain - what you get out of life if you give
  • Partnership development
  • Alternative methods of finding employment, a new society - skills development, cultural activities - creating the social entrepreneur?
  • Creating Fund Raising skills training for young people

Many highly regarded cultural commentators have written about the importance of culture to us as human beings;
 "To put it simply, culture is the expression of human values" (Francois Materasso)

Read Francois Materasso's report in PDF Format

The project had a profound impact on my life, ideas and thoughts in regard to the future of me individually and my responsibility towards the healing of my society. The project demonstrated the determination of the young people to fight jointly for a better future was far beyond my expectation.
— Tanja Dramac (24) / Bosnian / MA in Political Sciences, CEU Budapest

A sense of tolerance was there from the very beginning. People from 4 different countries were in the same place and we never had a single problem. We all understood and tolerated the differences between us. That was great thing to see.
— Nemanja Zukic (25) / Director of the Youth Centre, Srebrenica, Bosnia

Multiculturalism is a part of me, part of my culture and tradition, of my people (the word “people” I think of the peoples of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, Jews, Roma). Multiculturalism has instilled in me that the positive aspects of other cultures and observing the traditions and customs. Thank you again, you turn young people to be part of something like this, thank you for allowing me to meet good people who were involved in this project.
— Amela Mrakic (20) / Youth Activitist now living Travnik, Bosnia