The exciting EU funded Women’s Theatre Company, Stages of Change, kick off their first ever national tour with a free public performance tomorrow (Thursday Oct 23) at the National Auditorium at 6.30pm.
Stages of Change project uses theatre to engage women and men in discussions about violence against women and girls; its subtle use of modern physical theatre and traditional Melanesian imagery has won over audiences around the Pacific, enabling communities to engage more openly with what has traditionally been an off-limits subject.
Freshly back from successful international performances in Samoa and PNG, the group dazzled packed audiences and Heads of State from around the world.
Stages of Change performed during the recent Small Island Developing Nations (SIDS) gathering in Samoa, where European Union Ambassador for the Pacific, Andrew Jacobs, said that domestic and sexual violence were global issues which demanded universal action.
“This initiative is a great example of how theatre can cut across barriers such as language, age and gender, to transform people’s attitudes.”
Mr Jacobs also applauded the Solomon Island Government for selecting and funding the group to perform at the recent Melanesian Arts Festival in Papua New Guinea and for taking legal steps towards eradicating violence.
“It is extremely pleasing to note that the Solomon Islands parliament has just unanimously passed a bill aimed at protecting victims of domestic violence. Among other things this bill brings in more sever penalties for perpetrators as well as better protection and support for victims.”
Stages of Change began as an EU/British Council initiative one and a half years ago. Working with local partners, Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood Association, a group of women from all across the Solomon Islands began intensive training with NZ Theatre Company, The Conch. The group have gone on to perform and run reducing violence workshops to wide audiences throughout the Pacific.
Stages of Change will be performing for free this week in Guadalcanal and West Guadalcanal and will head to Malaiata next week.