Project week #1: Chojnice

The first project week of S4T took place in Chojnice, Poland. We all arrived on Sunday, 16th Oct. 2011, and left on Friday, 21st Oct. 2011.

This is our photo gallery of this project meeting:
S4T in Poland










And here is a slideshow of selected photographs:


Drama Workshop

On the first day, our drama workshop started in the Culture House of Chojnice. We got to know our tutor Grzegorz Szlanga, an actor from Gdansk. He was given a hard task. He had to teach us, a group of 39 pupils from five different countries, the basic things about acting and prepare a performance with us in only three days.  So we started directly.
At first the tutor explained and showed us the basis that an actor needs. He taught us how to use our voice in order that everybody can hear and understand us. Also we played games to practice showing our feelings. For one, we walked around and when Grzegorz said "stop" we had to stop, choose an emotion and freeze in it.

On the second day, this time in the music school, we began the drama workshop with the emotion play. Then we learned that, in order to work with our partners better, we have to trust them and and be able to rely on them.
Then we had to form three groups - with people from different countries in each of them. In these groups we used our imagination to create our own new 'nations' with their names, inhabitants, religions, money, flags, hymn, government and traditions. For our new nation we had to devise a ceremony that is connected with it, and think about how to play it on the stage.

For the last drama workshop, on Wednesday, we were back in the Culture House. The ceremonies were practiced again and Grzegorz gave us ideas and tips how to play them better.
After the scenes were improved, we made the three different scenes meet on the stage, a funeral, a wedding and a coronation, and as a result there was a conflict which led to a battle. But in the end, everybody agreed the three countries had founded a new nation and they wanted to have peace: Peace at home, peace in the world.
We practiced the performance till everything was fine (of course Grzegorz would have liked to practice and improve a lot more), and at the end we recorded it on video.





Getting to know each other: Monday night

On Monday night, we all got together at Fosa Restaurant, and every team had prepared a little show or scene to introduce themselves and to give the other participants some kind of impression of their country, too.
The longest and most elaborate contribution came from the host country itself: The students of Katolickie Gmnazjum Chojnice performed several dances (menuet and folk dance), a Kashubian song and even a rap interlude and were praised with lots of applause.
If you follow the link below, you can watch all of the Polish performance at YouTube:

Comenius prezentacja artystyczna

But all the other contributions were very well done, too, and contributed to the happy atmosphere of friendship that was already beginning to form.
The Romanian team introduced the audience to Romanian food and drink; the German girls presented their hometown in pictures of sights whose initials formed its name, "Amberg"; the Italian team danced and sang their hearts out about everything that is famous about Italy; and the Turkish team even brought along Turkish instruments, foods and spices to introduce their partners to what a Turkish "Henna Night" looks and feels like, with all the room joining in the dance at the end.
And the dancing continued: Sometimes spontaneously, sometimes with the help of dancing instructor Magdalena Grala, everybody was on their feet and enjoyed moving to Polish and international music.


So the Monday, which had already begun with a fantastic reception at the Polish school, and had gone on with a superb workshop, followed by a very friendly meeting with the mayor, ended with an evening full of enjoyable presentations and fun - and yummy food, by the way, all of which tasted delicious! What a basis for a great first project week!



Stay in Chojnice: A diary



Sunday, 2011-10-16
On the first day we arrived in Chojnice and met our host families. They showed us their town and the lake "Charzykowskie" close by.

Monday, 2011-10-17
On Monday we had the drama workshop which took place in the "Culture House" of Chojnice". We got to know our tutor Grzegorz Szlanga, an actor from Gdansk. He was given a hard task. He had to teach us, a group of 39 pupils from five different countries, the basics about acting, and to prepare a performance with us in only three days. So we started directly.
At first the tutor explained and showed us the basis for an actor's work. He taught us how to breathe properly and how to use our voice in order to be understandable for everyone.
We also played games to practice showing our feelings. At first we walked around and when Grzegorz said "stop" we had to stop, choose an emotion and freeze in it.
After lunch we did a sightseeing tour of Chojnice, where we visited the town hall and met the mayor. After that we saw the Late-Baroque Church of Holy Virgin Mary Annunciation and the market place.

Tuesday, 2011-10-18
On the second day of the drama workshop we began with the emotions game. In addition we learned how to work with our partners. Then we had to build three groups with people from different countries. In these groups we used our imagination to create our new nations with their names, inhabitants, religions, currency, flags, hymn, government and traditions. For our new nation we had to devise a ceremony that is connected with it and how to play it on stage.
In the afternoon we went for a hike in the nature around Chojnice and a river called Brda.

Wednesday, 2011-10-19
On the third day we practiced our ceremonies and Grzegorz gave us tips how to play them better. After our scenes were improved we performed them together (a funeral, a wedding and a coronation) and when the three groups clashed there was a conflict which resulted in a battle. But in the end charity prevailed and we all wanted to have peace at home and in the world. We recorded this on video.
In the evening we went bowling with our new friends.

Thursday, 2011-10-20
We went on a trip to Gdansk. On our way we first stopped at a museum in Szymbark. There we baked bread and were surprised about an upside-down house. In Gdansk, we visited another museum, "The Road to Freedom", which documents the final years of communism and how it was overthrown peacefully by the Solidarnosc movement - a very impressive experience.
Afterwards we did a little bit of sightseeing. The Italians and the Romanians stayed at a hotel in Gdansk because their planes left very early in the morning.

Friday, 2011-10-21
Our last few hours in Chojnice: It was really hard to say goodbye to all our new friends! What we realized was that Polish people are very hospitable and friendly.
So we were glad that we visited Poland and we hope that we will meet all the nice people again.


What individual students said:
An Italian guy: "I won't forget the walk in the forest. We liked singing together while walking!"
A Turkish boy: "I really liked the churches in Poland!"
A Turkish boy: "I liked the friendship there and I improved my English"
A Romanian girl: "I really loved the food!"